In today’s world, most parents are aware of the various predators that are out to harm their children. Now, parents can add cyber criminals to that list of concerns. While these criminals won’t physically harm your children, they can ruin your children’s credit and finances before they’ve even had a chance.
In 2015, 17.6 million Americans in the United States were victims of identity theft according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. A majority of identity theft is due to data breaches committed by cyber criminals. The FBI ranks cybercrime as one of its top law enforcement priorities, and President Obama has recently proposed a $14 billion cybersecurity budget.
A data breach in November involving children’s toymaker, VTech, exposed 6.5 million children’s data. Approximately 3 million of those children were in the United States. The cost of VTech’s breach has reached approximately $116,000,000. Children are just as vulnerable to identity theft as adults. The fallout from data breaches affect so many individuals. Not only are the customers victim to having their personal information stolen, they also have to worry about their children’s personal information being compromised.
This past week, Wi-Fi-enabled toys from the Fisher Price line named ‘Smart Toy’, have been diagnosed with a security vulnerability, as well. Hackers had the ability to access children’s names, birthdays, gender, and more personal information. Fisher Price has since announced that this vulnerability has been remediated and no longer poses a problem. However, with the IoT (Internet of Things) well on it’s way and being implemeted into children’s toys, these security risks will only become more and more of an issue.
Can you imagine your child having an expensive utility bill in another state, or a drivers license, or even a foreclosed home in another state? It begs the question, when’s the last time you checked your children’s credit reports? It’s no surprise that these cyber criminals are interesed in stealing your children’s identity. You couldn’t ask for a better setup. What could possibly be better than a sparkling clean credit report for those criminals who want to start over financially?
Even worse, it can take years and years before you get any inkling of wrongdoing. More often than not, these cyber criminals are never caught. And the risk doesn’t decline after a few years because this is not something that just goes away. Social security numbers last a lifetime and identity theft for both adults and children is something that needs to be constantly monitored.
The youngest victim in identity theft was only five months old. A report done by Carnegie Mellon’s Cyber Lab, reported that out of the 40,000 children caught up in a data breach, 10.2% of those children had their Social Security numbers compromised. This statistic is 51x higher than the 0.2% of adults who were affected.
What can you do to help your child? The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends looking out for the following scenarios.
1. Be turned down for government benefits because the benefits are being paid to another account using your child’s Social Security number.
2. Get a notice from the IRS saying the child didn’t pay income taxes, or that the child’s Social Security number was used on another tax return.
3. Get collection calls or bills for products or services you didn’t receive.
The majority of data breaches occur from cyber criminals who are hacking and phishing for data. Once that data is sold, you and your family are at risk for identity theft.
For more information, check out our website at axiomcyber.com or give us a call us at (800) 519-5070. #FightBackWithAxiom