Victims of identity theft experience significant turmoil. As if foster children and former foster children do not encounter enough hardship, new reports show a growing number of complaints about foster children increasingly becoming victims of identity theft. Children in foster care often move from placement to placement and with them, all of their personal information which passes through the hands of every adult along the way. Social workers, group home staff and foster parents receive numerous copies of a child’s personal identification numbers, with little done to protect this sensitive information. Foster children are at a greater risk of identity theft because of this often careless handing of their personal information and its significant potential as an exploitable source of credit. These young victims of identity theft are often later rejected from jobs, student loans and housing because of ruined credit. They are also likely to pay steep upfront costs for basic needs, such as a $460 deposit for a cell phone or a $2,750 deposit for a $795-a-month apartment. Further, damaged credit history, and no fault of their own, often results in former foster youth often only being offered exorbitantly high interest rates. Advocates argue that a change in record management protocol is necessary to protect foster youth from identity theft. Experts suggest adapting stricter confidentiality among professionals and limiting the frequency of a child’s full social security number on print materials. Click here to read more about foster children and their struggle with identity theft.
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