Someone May Be Stealing Your Child's Identity
A recent article by Bill Draper of the Associated Press looks into a new, underground wave of identity theft. He explains how online companies are using sophisticated computer programs to access public information databases and identify Social Security numbers that have not been used to obtain credit. These companies are then selling the dormant numbers to people who want to establish a new, untainted credit history.
Some numbers belong to people who have died. These numbers are not as desirable because creditors or lenders can check the Social Security Administration’s Death Index and recognize any new activity as fraudulent.
However, many of these numbers belong to children who aren’t old enough to obtain credit, so there is no spending history and the numbers aren’t on file with the credit bureaus. Because no one is checking, fraudulent activity can go undetected for years. When children get older and want to establish credit they find out that someone else has stolen and probably trashed their credit profile.
According to authorities, hundreds of “fly-by-night” companies are selling the dormant numbers so people with bad credit history can establish a new, phony credit profile. These numbers, often dubbed “credit privacy numbers” (CPNs) by these companies, are being sold for thousands of dollars apiece.
The weak housing and job markets, bad economy and rising consumer debt levels have resulted in sliding credit scores. Over 40 million Americans - approximately 25%- have scores below 600 which put them in a “poor risk” category, unable to qualify for mortgages, car loans or low interest rate credit card loans.
People with low credit scores can buy a new, clean “CPN” to rebuild their credit by “piggybacking” or linking to someone else’s credit file. They use their real names with false addresses and phone numbers, leaving out any information that can track back to their old damaged credit report.Continued on the next page