What is child identity theft?

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Child identity theft is when someone uses your child’s personally identifiable information (PII) to wrongfully get services or benefits, or commit fraud.

Basically, it means a scammer will use your child’s identity to get money for themselves under false pretenses and leave your child liable. 

Okay, so what’s a PII?

The most common example of PII is a social security number. Most people in the U.S. are issued one at birth, and an SSN is used on many identifying documents like tax paperwork, job applications, and even household bills.

Here are some types of theft scammers can use if they get ahold of your child’s social security number:

  • Open a new bank or credit card account in their name.
  • Take out fraudulent loans with multiple financial institutions.
  • Apply for government benefits such as unemployment.
  • Use a stolen or “synthetic” identity to illegally obtain goods or services. 

Other types of PII adults have are driver’s license numbers, bank account numbers, and personal tax IDs, but an SNN is by far the most desirable PII since it’s linked to so much other information. 


Child identity theft can take months or even years to undo and can alter an entire family’s sense of safety. For more information on how to protect your child from identity theft, check out 10 ways to protect your child from identity theft.

Many families don’t even know the child is a victim until years later, and the news and consequences can be devastating.

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