Identity theft doesn’t only happen to adults with credit cards and bank accounts — it is also happening to children.
The Federal Trade Commission has noted identity thieves deliberately capture the Social Security number of a child in order to obtain employment; apply for government benefits, car loans and mortgages; and open new accounts.
Stealing the identity of children is a growing trend because no one thinks to check the credit records of a child.
In order to raise awareness of this growing crime, I authored a resolution designating April as “Child ID Theft Awareness Month in Pennsylvania.”
I encourage parents to please keep their child’s Social Security information private and to periodically run a credit check in their child’s name to make sure their information has not somehow been stolen or misused.
Unfortunately, as much as law enforcement officials work to stop identity thieves, the first line of defense rests with you.
Everyone needs to be conscientious about destroying paperwork containing sensitive information, including birth dates, Social Security numbers and bank account numbers.
To make it easier for individuals to dispose of such documents, I am hosting a shredding event along with state Sen. Pat Browne and Lower Macungie Township 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 5 outside my district office at the Lower Macungie Township Administration Building parking lot, 3400 Brookside Road, Macungie.
The service is free and open to all residents of the 134th Legislative District. Everyone may bring up to four boxes or bags of documents. However, this event is for residents only. No businesses, please.
And, remember, if you or your child does become a victim of identity theft, act quickly. Contact the fraud department of your creditors, contact your financial institutions, report the theft to law enforcement, and file complaints with the state attorney general and the Federal Trade Commission right away.
For more information, go to consumer.ftc.gov.
Editor’s note: State Rep. Ryan Mackenzie represents the 134th Legislative District includes Alburtis, Lower Macungie Township, Macungie, Salisbury Township (Wards 4 and 5) and South Whitehall (Districts 3 and 4) in Lehigh County; and Hereford, Longswamp, Richmond and Rockland townships, and Topton borough in Berks County.