Jamie Morris was shocked to find out her 15-year-old daughter’s social security number was being used by someone else.
Earlier this month, Morris said she discovered that this person had been using Mikaela’s identity to get a job.
“Her life is ruined. That’s how I feel. Like her life is ruined,” Morris said.
This incident is déjà vu for Morris. She said 10 years ago, someone stole her then 2-year-old son’s social security number for the same purpose.
“And now to have it happen to my daughter,” Morris saidd. “I’m just like dumfounded.”
Mikaela and David aren’t the first and won’t be the last. Thieves steal children’s social security numbers because the theft can go undetected for up to 18 years. Once a social security number is stolen, the thief can access a wide variety of things including credit cards and loans.
One California assemblyman is trying to make it more difficult for thieves to do this. State Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) introduced AB1580 that would force the three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) to allow parents to freeze their children’s credit until they are 18-years-old. Currently, parents can freeze a child’s credit only after the child has become a victim of identity fraud.
Danielle Kando-Kaiser of Corbin and Kaiser, represents three of the largest privacy protection groups in the state. She said there are some obvious tells that can flag that your child’s identity has been stolen.
“First, look at your mail.” Kando-Kasier warns.
If there are credit card or loan offers coming in your child’s name chances are they’re identity is being used.
“The second step you want to take is to contact one of the three major credit bureaus and ask them ‘what do you know about my kid,’” Kando-Kaiser added. “And the third step is possibly freezing your child's credit.”
If your child is a victim of identity theft, she said the first thing to do is contact a credit bureau and then file a police report.