While it can be difficult enough to avoid a bad credit history as an adult, children are virtually helpless against this fate when it comes to identity theft, which is becoming more prevalent these days, MSNBC reports.
"They make perfect targets because they have no records and don't discover the crime for years," Richard Power, researcher at Carnegie Mellon University, told the news source. In his study of 40,000 children, there were "4,000 kids with gun licenses, mortgages, car loans and driver's licenses. That's crazy."
The news source reports that of the children in the study who were victims of identity theft, nearly 7 percent were under the age of 5, more than 11 percent were associated with mortgages and close to 10 percent had drivers licenses in their names.
For example, a 16-year-old girl from Arizona had more than 30 credit accounts opened under her name and a college student was unknowingly saddled with $300,000 in debt.
"This is an existential threat to our society. The elephant in the room is that obviously we are not properly authenticating people at all," Power told the news provider.