ATLANTA, April 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- At a time when reported cases of childhood identity theft are increasing, over 80% of parents with minor children have little to no familiarity with this growing problem.
This finding comes from a new Child Identity Theft study, based on third-party research commissioned by Equifax (NYSE: EFX). Research firm Vantedge Group surveyed more than 1,000 parents of minor children across the U.S. about their perceptions and concerns around childhood identity theft. The study concluded that 84 percent of parents say they are only "somewhat familiar" or "not at all familiar" with child identity theft.
"This new research tells us that many parents are still unaware of the threat of child identity theft, while data from the Federal Trade Commission and other sources show it is an increasing problem," said Trey Loughran, president of the Personal Information Solutions unit of Equifax. "There is a gap between perception and reality."In 2011, more than 19,000 child identity theft complaints were reported to the Federal Trade Commission, compared with approximately 6,000 reported complaints in 2003. Separately, a Carnegie Mellon CyLab study conducted in 2011 and directed by Distinguished Fellow Richard Power looked at identity scans of 40,000 children and found that approximately 10 percent of the children have had someone else use their Social Security numbers. Child identity theft occurs when someone obtains the Social Security number or other identifying information of a minor and uses it to apply for a credit card, bank account, loan, job, driver's license, or even government benefits. A parent may not discover the child's identity has been stolen or compromised for years — perhaps finding out when collection agencies call or when the child becomes an adult and is turned down for his or her first credit card.
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