Recent Javelin Study Shows Children Are At Risk for Identity Theft

Oct 28, 2008

Recent Javelin Study Shows Children Are At Risk for Identity Theft

Research Finds Children are Vulnerable to Fraudsters; Increased Vigilance By Parents Needed to Protect Children's Identities

SAN FRANCISCO, October 28, 2008 - Javelin Strategy & Research, the leading independent provider of quantitative and qualitative research focused exclusively on financial services, today announced findings related to Child Identity Theft based on recent analysis of 500 children using Debix's proprietary Identity Protection Network.

While it is something most don't want to consider, the impact of identity theft against children can be great, adversely affecting their ability to apply for college, car loans, employment or something as basic as mobile phone service.

"When child identity theft occurs it can go undetected for extended periods of time, potentially resulting in serious damage to the child's credit history," said James Van Dyke, President of Javelin Research. "Many parents don't think they need to be concerned with the safety issues of their children's personal identity information. But, as a result of our findings it is clear that children are at risk, no matter the age, and parents need to take the measures necessary to ensure their child's credit history is protected."

Child Identity Theft generally occurs when a child's personal identifying information, such as a social security number, home address and/or date of birth, is misused by criminals for personal gain. During this study several cases were found to be extremely serious. One child had seven identities listed under their SSN, with several thousand dollars in medical bills, apartment rentals, and credit accounts in collections; another child's SSN was associated with over $325,000 in debt. In addition, a 14-year-old had a more than $600,000 mortgage in his name and the house later went into foreclosure.

The Child Identity Theft study analyzed many aspects of the crime and its impact, including who is at risk for child identity theft, what is at stake for children that are victims, and what types of credit problems are occurring with children's identities.

Key findings from the report included:

* The study discovered 5 percent of the children had a credit report using their social security number and 54 percent of those children were victims of identity theft.

* Among those 5 percent, the children had on average $12,779 in fraudulent or wrongly assigned debt.

* While the study found that children were more likely to find problems in their credit histories as they aged, 12 percent of those with problems were ages 5 and under.

* One in four victims in the study had bills or lines of credit in collections or foreclosure, while almost two-thirds of these children had fake or wrong names listed under their SSN.

* 42 percent of those children with erroneous credit reports only had credit files at one credit bureau, meaning their fraud could have gone unnoticed without checking all three.

Within this research, Javelin also provides guidance and preventative measures for parents to follow to protect their children from becoming victims of identity theft as well as reviews what parents should look for when considering the purchase of identity theft protection services. To review the Child Identity Theft Research, please visit

The Child Identity Theft Study, commissioned by Debix, included information on 500 children (ages 17 and under) enrolled in the Debix Identity Protection Network from July 18, 2008 through September 12, 2008. A total of 26 children had credit files and problems with their credit history. This data was analyzed by Javelin in October 2008. Javelin maintains complete independence of data analysis and reporting, and this report has been created solely by Javelin employees. In addition, data on identity fraud was derived from Javelin's Identity Fraud Survey Report conducted in October 2007 of over 5,000 U.S. adults. Javelin also conducted several in-depth interviews with the parents of child identity theft victims, to provide a real-world view of how this crime impacts consumers at the personal level.


About Javelin
Javelin is the leading independent provider of quantitative and qualitative research focused exclusively on financial services topics. Based on the most rigorous statistical methodologies, Javelin conducts in-depth primary research studies to pinpoint dynamic risks and opportunities. Javelin helps its clients achieve their initiatives through three service offerings, including syndicated research subscriptions, custom research projects and strategic consulting. Javelin's client list includes some of the largest banks, credit unions, card issuers, and technology enterprises in the financial services industry.

If you are interested in information regarding Javelin research reports, please visit or call Kathleen McCabe at (925) 225-9100 extension 15.

Kathleen McCabe, Marketing Director, Javelin Strategy & Research
+1 925.225.9100 ext.15

Harley Block, Edelman for Debix
+1 212.704.8291