LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Unemployment fraud is a major issue, with fake claims being filed in many Nevadan’s names. A big concern is identify theft, and the I-Team has learned even children’s information is at risk.
Cyber expert Shannon Wilkinson says children’s identities are worth a lot to cyber criminals.
“If somebody steals the identity of a 10-year-old, it’s probably at least 8 years that they can use that identity to file for credit cards and get loans and stuff,” she explained.
Stealing the identity of an infant gives a thief even more time.
“Just a couple of years ago, there was a big market on the underground forums,” Wilkinson said. “They were actually selling the social security numbers of infants so they could file fraudulent tax returns, or they could steal the child’s identity and get credit and loans.”
Once the identity theft is discovered, well, it takes work to fix the issue.
“A lot of damage can be done to a child’s credit, and they’ll have to go through the process,” Wilkinson explained. “It’s no fun of proving that it was not them.”
It involves calling the credit agencies, reports to police and more.
Wilkinson, who is the CEO of Las Vegas-based Tego Cyber Inc., usually deals with cyber security for businesses, but she offers this advice: credit monitoring.
Companies like ID Shield offer family plans, with some starting at $26.95 a month. While it’s another monthly or annual bill, Wilkinson says it can prevent trouble ahead.
“I do encourage parents to do that for their children because the consequences of not monitoring your children’s credit and their identities while they’re young is actually having pretty bad consequences and hard consequences when they get older, if they’re identity is stolen,” she noted.