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We all worry about our children but what if you found out your 9-year-old child has credit debts of £15k, Owes HMRC/IRS 2 years back taxes on employment, and has a Bitcoin wallet, as well as Netflix and Amazon Accounts?

Not something that would cross your mind normally but…Child identity fraud is a thriving business for fraudsters particularly in the US and UK.

When we are registered as born, we are issued with a National Insurance Number and a birth certificate. The birth certificate is a matter of public record. We also tend to announce birth in newspapers or on social media.

Illicit trade in National Insurance numbers (or Social Security numbers in US) are very much part of Organised cyber-crime. A little research, a little forgery and a credible identity is created for a type of fraud which is far more common than most people think and perfect for synthetic manipulation to create a credible identity with matching passport and driving licence documents.

It is estimated that there are 1 million such identities in use in the US and by the process of extrapolation around 200,000 in the UK. It may be for used for false proof of ability to work in UK, housing, and benefits. All of which are fraud, but also more directly to deceive lenders, launder money and commit crime.

Not enough of us but many of us take steps to check our own identity has not been stolen and in business we do the same thing to ensure we know who we are dealing with.

I am sorry to say this but warning our children of the dangers of the internet and keeping an eye increasingly means we must be aware of this threat.

For perspective 200,000 children is the equivalent of 2 full Wembley Stadiums and a Manchester City home crowd (sorry I could not resist a football joke).

This is not a new phenomenon what is new is the volume and scale. More will be uncovered as children mature and are turned down for bank accounts and other things because their identity has been used fraudulently by someone else.

Here are some things you can look out for:
· Calls or letters to your child with offers that are not age appropriate
· Calls or letters about debts in your child’s name
· Pre-approved credit offers by email or post
· HMRC or IRS letters about tax codes

There again if your 9-year-old drives a Ferrari, has a yacht, and has a thriving business the above might just be them after all. Otherwise, don’t laugh it off, check it out.

2021 when the improbably became probable.