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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.
Two viewpoints that often conflict but should actually in my opinion be interdependent if we are going to succeed in making folks safer.

'...people forget to build fraud into products and ideas because they are convenient and are going to be big sellers...'

'...we in counter fraud and cybersecurity need to build convenience into fraud solutions...'

I make the points this weeks on 'The Infosec & OSINT Show' podcast hosted by Josh Amishav-Zlatin.

I also cover common frauds I see, how COVID impacted fraud and how shell companies and aged email addresses are being used by fraudsters.

There are other podcasts on the site from some folks whose work I admire too.
I've just been speaking to someone who has fallen for the 3% a day for a week investment scam. PLEASE if you are considering any such investments even if they have:

- A pretty website
- They encourage you to take a low initial investment and pay out so seem legit for a second go
- You need the money
- Claim to be registered off shore but it seems legit

Contact me or a professional before you send any money. We are far better than you at identifying frauds. We really are.

The latest lot I am seeing are claiming registration in Malta.

Last but not least, please don't go giving $3,500 down payment to some organisation that claims they can get your money back. Yes there are some good ones, but most of these I have seen are sharp sellers looking for quick profits, and some are actually the investment scammers you have fallen for now taking more of your money another way!

If you or anyone you know is considering this type of investment or already in the cycle DM me with details and I will run a quick check for you free of charge.

Let's be careful out there...