The tale of the bankrupt toddler

Children are increasingly victimized by identity theft. National Protect Your Identity Week can help.

By Donna_Freedman Oct 14, 2011 10:18AM
Imagine being $725,000 in debt before you were old enough to vote. It's happened. According to the folks behind National Protect Your Identity Week, a kid's Social Security number is 51 times more likely to be stolen than an adult's.

It's not just because they're too short to fight back, either.

Steal a tot's number and it's likely no one will notice -- that is, until the kid gets old enough to apply for a job, a credit card, college or any type of government benefits. Surprise! You're in hock!

A joint report done by the Carnegie Mellon CyLab and AllClear ID produced some pretty scary stuff:
  • Youngest ID theft victim: 5 months old.
  • 2-year-old in bankruptcy.
  • 9-year-old sent to collections.
  • One child "owed" creditors $725,000.

The Henry Kaiser Foundation reports that 10.2% of 40,000 children studied had someone else using their Social Security numbers. Having your lunch money stolen is small potatoes compared with this. Post continues after video.

National Protect Your Identity Week takes place Oct. 16-22. The event is co-sponsored by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, the National Sheriffs' Association and the National Association of Triads (a group that works to keep seniors safe).


Special events are planned in more than 100 U.S. cities, including safe disposal of cellphones (thieves can steal old data such as passwords and account and PIN numbers), theft protection handouts and workshops, credit report reviews, and professional shredding of documents and/or hard drives.

The event website offers information on preventing identity theft as well as resources for victims. Check it for a map of events in your area.

More on MSN Money:


Oct 14, 2011 2:33PM

You would think the IRS would catch the age of people when Tax Time rolls around, Your SSN has your DOB attached to it. Yet again another Government let down. Our tax dollars at waste.


I feel sorry for any child that has to or is going to have to deal with this sort of crap. Illegal immigrants have a tendency to use other peoples numbers hmmmmmm

Oct 14, 2011 3:35PM
The disturbing part of this that they gingerly tiptoed around is that many, if not most of the occasions of 'identity theft' are by parents or family members.
Oct 14, 2011 2:13PM
If these kids cant pay their bills they shouldn't be given credit
Oct 14, 2011 3:09PM

A Comcast worker stole my SSN when he was in my apartment installing my receiver. I had an expandable file folder sitting next to my entertainment center with my card in it. I was in the apartment at the time, but I thought it would be rude for me to babysit this guy. He was Hispanic and I didn't want to be accused of profiling. Well, a week later and I find my card missing. I called Comcast to report it and they told me I didn't have any proof so they wouldn't do anything about it. The police pretty much said the same thing. I called Social Security and they told me the only thing they could do was to put a tag on my number indicating that it might have been stolen. So far nothing has come up negative. I hope it stays that way. The police told me that people will steal the cards and sell them to illegal immigrants for a good chunk of change. IDENTITY THIEVES SUCK!

Oct 14, 2011 3:47PM
These slime should be locked away in prisons, and the other inmates there told that they're child molesters.  Which, in a way, they are.
Oct 14, 2011 5:09PM

Have you ever called the Social Security office to report a card that is suspicious?  The response is at the top of the list for indifferent government employees.

Oct 14, 2011 2:40PM

Totally agree Someone. Who do these kids think they are? Get a job lazy bums! Lmfao.

Oct 14, 2011 4:59PM

That sounds terrible for the children involved and shameful for the adults doing it.  But, I find the statistic (10.2%) hard to believe.  So, one out of ten children are victims of identify theft?  I am very skeptical about that........  One out of a 100 is still too many but I have doubts about that statistic.

Oct 14, 2011 6:50PM
I didn't have a SSN# until I was old enough to work (16 years old part time). That was of course back in the DARK AGES (before computers). Why do we need SSN#'s for children? We have Birth Certificates to prove they are ours in case we get audited. My children didn't get SSN#'s until they were 16 yrs old so they could work part time. Who changed the law? Change it back. This is abuse.
Oct 14, 2011 5:58PM

I remember applying for my social security number as a kid, just before getting my first real job.  Maybe having them issued at birth isn't really all it's cracked up to be.  I am one of seven kids, and my mother didn't really have a problem keeping track of our individual medical records through our many moves.  Not sure I buy into the need of a two year old having to have a vulnerable identity.


Oct 25, 2011 9:17PM

Man.  Can you imagine what kind of person would go out and borrow and spend a bunch of money with no intention of paying it back?  Knowing they were pushing the problem off on kids and grandkids who would never have the quality of life they should have had, because they were responsible for paying back all the money those people had 'borrowed'.   And it would be years before the poor kids and grandkids even knew!      BECAUSE THE NATIONAL DEBT IS IN THE FORM OF BONDS AND T-BILLS THAT DON'T MATURE IMMEDIATELY!  

And what really is the difference?  YOU (through your congress people) spent your kids and grandkids futures.  And you never even thought about it did you?

Thumbs down if you like being a thief.

Oct 26, 2011 3:51AM
The kids need a ss #  so the kids can get gov  benefits
Oct 14, 2011 6:12PM
Kids ages 1-4 years old should have a "Occupy" sit in at the steps of the Social Security offices in their towns.
Oct 14, 2011 3:07PM
We need to bring back the children's workshops so they can pay off their debt.
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