He and his father learned
the person who misused Date's Social Security number had opened a checking account
and a savings account at a Wells Fargo in Glendale, Calif. Date filled out the
police report but his father says nothing came of it because the crime was in
Meanwhile, Date was able to open an account under the same Social
Security number. Letters were sent to the man using the same Social Security number
to see if he could present the card but he didn't respond, so the bank terminated
"It was total blind luck that I found out
through that bank," says Al Date, David's father.
One of the three credit major bureaus has observed
a rise in complaints.
"We have established email@example.com
because of the growing problem," says Diane Terry, senior director of the
Fraud Victim Assistance Department at TransUnion.
some federal officials say the number of people complaining is still small.
child identity theft is a very serious issue, it is not occurring at any significant
rate," says FTC spokeswoman, Betsy Broder.
deputy chief counsel to the Inspector General of the Social Security Administration,
says cases of misuse of children's numbers are seen from time to time but not
at a dramatic rate.
only seeing the icing on the cake," says Paul Stephens, policy analyst at
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. "There can be a very long time frame between
identity theft and discovery, particularly with children."
Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., acknowledged the danger to children in a statement
issued after she introduced two proposals to give consumers more of a say in how
companies buy, sell and market their personal information and to provide more
protection for consumers who have had their debit, check cards or card numbers
"Identity theft and the theft of our personal information
is out of control," Clinton says in a written statement. "No one is
safe, not even kids and young adults, as identity thieves carry out electronic
muggings that can cost people cash and their credit records."
The FTC is taking steps to inform young people about
credit through an education campaign. According to Crane, the federal agency has
been distributing educational materials about prevention and recovery to teachers
and other community leaders.
The Identity Theft Resource Center
is working with lawmakers in an attempt to push forward a proposal that would
create a list using birth records of all Social Security numbers and birth dates.
The list would be provided to repositories, which can not sell, distribute or
use it for other purposes, according to the ITRC's 2003 testimony before the House
Ways and Means Committee in 2003.
Credit applications submitted
with the Social Security number of an individual on the list would be investigated.
Once the child reaches adulthood the information would be deleted.