Protect your children from identity theft

Children are vulnerable to identity theft as soon as a Social Insurance Number (SIN) is assigned.

Identity thieves want the personal information of children because they do not have credit records. By acquiring a child’s SIN, a scammer can create a completely new identity and successfully apply for loans and credit cards.

Protecting children against scammers is one of many fraud prevention topics covered in a new book from the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) titled Protecting You and Your Money: A Guide to Avoiding Identity Theft and Fraud.

The guide advises parents to always keep their child’s SIN under lock and key and never store it on a computer. Children also should not reveal potentially sensitive personal information, such as their home address and birthdate, on social media.

“Child identity theft is particularly dangerous because it can take 10 to 15 years to discover the crime,” explains the book’s author Kelley Keehn. “By this time, the scammer’s trail is cold and the damage to the victim’s credit record can be devastating. It’s also gut-wrenching for a parent to know someone has stolen their child’s identity.”

The CPA Canada guide was officially released today in Ottawa to Members of Parliament and other dignitaries as part of Fraud Prevention Month. The organization is helping Canadians gain the knowledge and confidence required to protect themselves against identity theft and fraud.

“The best defence is awareness, knowledge and the will to fight back,” stresses Keehn.

Protecting You and Your Money: A Guide to Avoiding Identity Theft and Fraud can be obtained by visiting www.cpacanada.ca/fraudprevention.

An important contributor to the guide book is Jennifer Fiddian-Green, a forensic investigative accountant who has worked extensively with police forces to track down money launderers and fraudsters.

“We all are potential targets,” said Fiddian-Green, a partner with Grant Thornton LLP. “Canadians need to be more mindful of the risks and better understand how to protect themselves and the people close to us.”

People can report actual or suspected fraud to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by visiting www.antifraudcentre.ca or calling toll free 1-888-495-8501. As the Centre notes on its website, the information may help identify a new or unique scam early on and allow prevention and awareness measures to be activated.

About CPA Canada

CPA Canada is the national organization established to support unification of the Canadian accounting profession under the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation. www.cpacanada.ca

 

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