Unborn ID Theft Victims
Even the unborn fall victim to identity theft
September 16th, 2009 Keith Lubsen
It is a well known fact that identity theft is a common crime affecting millions of Americans every year.
A lesser known fact is that many unborn children have already had their Social Security numbers (SSN) stolen.
Is someone else using your unborn childs Identity?
Credit card fraudsters, illegal immigrants and professional identity thieves attempt to gain new credit, employment or services using stolen identities. There is nothing stopping identity thieves from using a SSN which has not yet been issued.
Identity thieves don’t need a name to match a SSN in order to use it, so they make one up or even use their own name. This practice is part of what is called synthetic identity theft.
Synthetic identity theft is a variety of identity fraud in which crooks fabricate new identities by either:
1) Combining real and fake identifying information to establish new accounts.
2) Creating a new identity from completely fake information.
The most common form of synthetic identity theft is when a crook uses a valid SSN and combines it with a new name not connected to that SSN. This non matching name and SSN combination often does not show up on a consumer's credit report.
Why should future parents be concerned about the identities of their unborn children being stolen?
1) The damage caused to a child’s credit can take a great amount of work to clean up. Any negative impact that remains on a child’s credit score could negatively affect that child for its entire life.
For example, when the child becomes an adult and wishes to obtain a mortgage to purchase a home they may only be able to qualify for higher mortgage rates due to their damaged credit. This could easily cost thousands of dollars in additional interest over the life of a loan.
2) The debts racked up by the identity thieves need to be paid for.
The victim, the victim’s family or the businesses from which the ID thief bought merchandise end up paying the damages caused by the identity thief.
If the businesses are stuck with the tab (the most common scenario) then society is burdened by the higher prices that the businesses are forced to pass along to their customers.
Unfortunately, expecting parents can do nothing to ensure that the SSN being issued to their newborn has not been used by an identity thief.
Perhaps the Social Security Administration may some day solve this problem by cross referencing the SSN’s they are about to issue newborns against the database they have of reported earnings for those very same SSN’s.