When Christina Ives of Pacific Beach turned 16 years old, she wanted was a job. It was something she really needed at the time. Her father was homeless. He mother was an alcoholic, and she was in foster care. Ives applied to a number of places and landed a position with Mervyn's. Just days before her first day of school, she received a letter that she had been terminated. Her employers told Ives her social security number wasn't her own.
She says it definitely was.
According to the Identity Theft Resource Center based in San Diego, Ives story is troublesome, but not uncommon. Nikki Junker, a victim advisor, says, "Foster children are moved around. The child's information is going through a system, a bureaucracy and going from desk to desk to desk."
Junker says identity thieves are targeting more children as a whole. A recent study out of Carnegie Mellon CyLab documenting more than 40,000 children showed more than 10% had someone else using their social security numbers. The largest fraud, totalling $725,000, was committed against a 16-year-old girl just like Christina Ives. The youngest victim was 5-months-old.
If you find you are a victim of identity theft, or specifically child identity theft, here are some resources from the Identity Theft Resource Center.