12 News Defenders: Identity thieves target children - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

12 News Defenders: Identity thieves target children

Identity theft has no age limit. Some families are learning that the hard way. The cost can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and more.

Postal inspectors say the suspects stole the identities of children and opened accounts in their names.   U.S. Postal Inspector, Cecil Frink said, "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."

Inspectors say the ring leader recruited people down on their luck to help in his scam. He would make fake ID's 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."

The suspects wrote hundreds of bad checks totaling more than $500,000.  Frink adds,"Handlers would take them out and tell them what to buy and they might get 25%."

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.   Frink explains, "We can actually see the individuals writing the counterfeit or bad checks." 

Inspectors say your children are as vulnerable to identify theft as you are.  Frink advises, "Protect your children's social security numbers, place of birth and information like that. "

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

Click here for more information on how to protect your child's identity.

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