Tips to protect children from online identity theft
Apr 7, 2011 9:01am
By Jennifer Leuer of Experian’s ProtectMyID
In 1988, the Social Security Administration initiated a project that enabled parents to obtain Social Security numbers for their newborns. By 1989, the program was expanded nationwide. Since that time, millions of newborns have received Social Security numbers. This makes them prime targets for identity theft.
Thieves target children because they have clean credit records, making it easy for criminals to create new accounts. Since most parents don’t check regularly to see if their children have credit records, the crime can go undetected for years. Many times, the identity theft isn’t discovered until the youngster applies for a driver’s license or first job.
The prevalence of social networks adds another layer of identity theft risk. When children are online, they may be persuaded to share personal information that can lead to identity theft.
How then, do we as parents or caregivers, help children navigate the potentially dangerous waters of the Internet? Here are some helpful tips:
As a parent, I often think that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It’s the same when it comes to child identity theft. The steps we can and should take to protect children from identity theft are a lot less stressful than the steps to clean up the aftermath of the crime. At ProtectMyID, we work hard to educate others about best ways to protect themselves against identity theft and are pleased that we can be a part of parents’ plans to protect their children.
During her tenure with Experian, Leuer has also spent several years as vice president of Strategic Asset Assurance, overseeing the privacy, regulatory compliance, information security and risk management functions for the Interactive division’s group of dynamic online direct-to-consumer businesses. Her previous roles also include manager of Marketing Communications and director of Compliance and Risk Management for Experian Interactive.
Before moving to the online industry, Leuer was a reporter covering education and state government beats for a variety of Southern California daily newspapers, including the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Times and The Press-Enterprise in Riverside, Calif. She also completed fellowships at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Indianapolis Star-News. During her time as a reporter, Leuer taught and mentored high school journalists at annual summer workshops run by the California Newspaper Publishers Association as well as the California Chicano News Media Association.
Leuer received her MBA from University of California Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from California State University, Fullerton. She is also a certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist.