Carnegie Mellon University’s CyLab studied over 40,000 kids and found that over 10 percent of them had social security numbers that were being used by someone else.
Richard Power, who authored the study (PDF), says that social security numbers were the number one point of entry to this kind of theft. Most parents don’t go around posting their kids social security numbers on lampposts but might not even think twice about jotting it down on a registration for soccer, where the data might not be so secure.
But even data stored with medical providers or insurance companies is susceptible to hacks. Once an ID thief has that social security number, they have a lot of power. Power talks about the numbers taken off kids as young as five years old being used to purchase handguns. Other stolen numbers have been used to get mortgages and register vehicles. In some of these cases, the lack of history associated with that particular number is attractive to the thief.
We also speak to Bo Holland, the CEO of the data protection company Debix who offers some tips on how to protect your child’s identity as well as your own. Debix is also offering a free data scan for children.
Also in this program, a new vocabulary term: “Windows Stability Center“. It’s malware that appears to protect you from infection even as it infects you.
Yep, a real feel good program today, folks. Makes you really positive about the direction our society is going. Way to go, us.
We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.
Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.
In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.
Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.