POSTED: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - 4:15pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - 4:19pm
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — Children should be playing, not worrying about their personal information. Yet while they play, thieves are trying to steal their social security number.
Identity theft experts say as much as 10 percent of all children have had their identity stolen.
"A child is an excellent target because there is an 18 year window of opportunity to use that information without it normally going detected," stated expert Linda Foley.
In that time, an ID thief could use it to take out a loan, get a driver's license or to apply for a job.
"It would never even cross your mind to have to worry about her social security, her identity, that's the furthest thing from my mind as a mom right now," said mother Tiffany Navarro.
Today parents are applying for their young children's social security numbers for taxes and other documentation, never thinking that their children's identity could be at risk.
"You worry about them running across the street, or you worry about them getting stolen at the park, but you don't (worry) that their social security number is getting taken by some person on a computer," said mother Rachael Northcutt.
You'd think it would be obvious that a 27-year-old man is not going to have the social security number of a five-year-old girl but employers have no way of checking. Even if they did, those social security numbers don't really tell much about the age or gender of the person. Little can be done by an employer or lender to link the number with the real person, whether they are 40-years-old or 4 days old.