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Back to school may mean back to work for ID thieves

PHOENIX — School is getting under way across the Valley and one local business is reminding people about protecting their child’s information.

Often times schools, paperwork, enrollment forms and daycares might ask for a student’s personal information. Adam Levine, CEO and founder of IDT 911, a Scottsdale-based identity and data risk management firm, said that information can be a target for identity thieves.

“Social Security numbers of children are pristine,” he said.

Levine said some identity thieves look to target children’s information because of how rarely most people check up on their child’s credit or financial information.

“If I’m an identity thief and I can get a child’s Social Security number, I know that I’ve got, literally, 15 or 17 years of undisturbed activity time,” he said.

“Children don’t ever look at their credit and most parents don’t take the time to check out their children’s credit report to see if there is a credit report.”

Credit reports or notifications of a credit balance under a child’s name should be a red flag that their identity may have been stolen, Levine said.

To keep kids safe, Levine said parents need to be vigilant in protecting their child’s information and making sure documents such as birth certificates and Social Security cards are locked up and safe. Levine also recommended double-checking why a child’s personal information is needed in the first place.

“The first thing you need to ask as a parent is, ‘Why do you need this information?'” Levin said. “Then, ‘Once I give it to you, what are you going to do with it?'”

Levine also recommends not sharing too much information such as addresses, birthdays and pictures online to avoid giving out sensitive information to would-be thieves.