Identity thieves targeting your children

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ID thieves are targeting your information and they are going after your children as well (KTRK)

According to the Federal Trade Commission the number one consumer complaint in America is a stolen identity. And not only are the thieves targeting your information they are going after your children as well.

As the mother of five children ages 2 to 19, Alisa Martinson has a lot on her mind.

"Day to day school issues and sports because they are very involved," she says.

Thinking about something like their credit seemed almost premature, until earlier this year.

Martinson says, "I just know that I was notified there was an issue and that I needed to call right away."

The Katy area mother found out her 14-year-old son's social security number had been stolen.

"He has nothing, he's a child," she says. Long before his first car or college loan, his credit could be ruined.

Erick Mann is a Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist. He's seen children's credit stolen as young as a five month old who was, by records, bankrupt and had a home foreclosed on.

Mann says, "It's a tidal wave that's hit America, families are seeing things they aren't familiar with and it's scary." Mann adds, "Who's to say your information hasn't already been stolen."

The breaches are staggering. Every week in the news, Target, Home Depot, Memorial Hermann Hospital, School Districts, even the U.S. State Department. A privacy rights watchdog that tracks data breaches since 2005 says there have been more than 931 million records breached in that time. Mann says, "As far as identity theft, Texas is prime."

If you have been a victim of a data breach says you should know what kind of breach occurred, find out what information was compromised, and take steps to protect yourself which include researching and applying to a credit monitoring service.

Martinson is now working with a credit service to figure out what happened with her son's social security number, how much damage may have been done and how to clear it up.

She says, "There are crooks out there and they know what to do."

Watching their credit is now a regular part of her protecting her family's future.

Additional tips include reducing the number of credit cards you carry (only carry what you need to use that day), using credit cards with your picture on them, and only carrying your social security card when absolutely necessary.

For more information and tips on protecting your family go to: https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/consumer/identity_theft.shtml

Related Topics:
credit cardsidentity theftbusinessKaty
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