Identity theft increasing among children

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HARRISON COUNTY, W.Va (WDTV) - Looking at a young child, you wouldn't think someone would want to steal their identity.

However, in 2017 more than one million children were victims of identity theft or fraud, according to Javelin Strategy & Research. 66% of child identity theft victims are under the age of seven, and 20% are 8-12 years old.

Tasha, who didn't want to use a last name, told 5 News this topic hits close to home. When she was young someone had stolen her identity.

"Not as a little child, but as I got older I wasn't able to get anything of my own because my identity was stolen," said Tasha.

Even though Tasha was a child, her family had to go through the same steps an adult would if they had been compromised as well. A process that Tasha says was difficult.

"I mean it was hard. We had to go through a bunch of identity theft research and do all that. Once you get so far deep into it then someone else takes over."

Javelin Research says children are often targeted because they're seen as 'clean slates'. Easy ways to build up lines of credit.

A child's information can be leaked through data breaches, a family member, or even themselves online by mistake. That's why Tasha does everything she can to make sure what happened to her doesn't happen to her own children.

"I don't let their social security numbers get out. I watch where I put their names, street addresses, anything. Anything about them I watch what I do."