Question of the Day: What percent of minors (under 18 years of age) have had their identity stolen?

Feb 12, 2018
Question of the Day, Credit Scores, Credit Reports, Identity Theft, Credit Cards, Article

Answer: 10%


  • Why do you think that this happens (ID theft) so frequently to minors? 
  • What would you do if you found out that someone was using your Social Security number to open accounts? 
  • How can you check to make sure this hasn't happened to you? 

Click here for the ready-to-go slides for this Question of the Day that you can use in your classroom.

Behind the numbers (from Buzzfeed, great article that your students will enjoy since it describes how a 3 year old had a credit report): 

A 2011 Carnegie Mellon CyLab Security & Privacy Institute survey found that 10% of people under 18 had at least one other person using their social security number to open accounts, including lines of credit and utility accounts. That’s far higher than the 0.2% rate for adults. 


How can your students' protect against this? According to Buzzfeed:

If Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion have measures in place specifically to prevent child identity theft, it's unclear what they are. The three bureaus declined to respond to questions about their credit approval process, what procedures they have to protect against this type of identity theft, and how they issued credit reports that included a toddler's social security number and an adult’s date of birth. TransUnion told BuzzFeed News parents can use its child identity theft resource page to place a freeze on their children’s credit reports “in all 50 states at no cost." Meanwhile, Experian offers an identity protection service to families with children — for $19.99 a month.

Here's an NGPF Blog post from 2015 with more answers on how a minor can check their credit report (hint: the credit bureaus don't make it easy!). 



About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.