Scammers use children’s social security numbers to open accounts

Posted at 8:39 PM, Nov 13, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-13 20:39:02-05

Identity theft has no age limit.

As soon as your child has a social security number, they can be targets.

Some families are learning that the hard way and the cost can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars or more.

Three different women were accused of writing bad checks in some well-known stores. Postal inspectors say the suspects stole the identities of children and opened accounts in their names.

“They knew they had no credit. So, that way they could use the kids` information to go out and get credit and make whatever purchases they wanted,” says Cecil Frink.

Inspectors say the ring leader recruited people down on their luck to help in his scam.

He would make fake IDs for his recruits that used their photos and the names and addresses of the kids whose identities were stolen..

“They were able to open accounts and write checks then went around to different merchants and wrote checks knowing they had no money in the bank,” says Frink.

The suspects wrote hundreds of bad checks totaling more than $500,000.

“Handlers would take them out and tell them what to buy and they might get 25%,” says Frink.

The scam artists bought tools and major appliances they could sell on the street.

Once authorities began tracking the case, surveillance video from various stores helped them make arrests.

“We can actually see the individuals writing the counterfeit or bad checks,” says Frink.

Inspectors say your children are as vulnerable to identify theft as you are.

“Protect your children`s social security numbers, place of birth and information like that,” says Frink.

In all, there were more than 100 victims in this case. Keep this in mind, you can order a credit report for your child as soon as they get their social security number.