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SOURCE Robert P. Chappell, Jr.
"My 5-year-old son owns a house, a car and WHAT?"
ROANOKE, Va., Feb. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Child identity theft is a fast-growing crime with the number of under-age victims estimated to be as high as 500,000 a year, far exceeding adult identity theft. Criminals target children because kids have a clean credit record or no credit file, and the theft can go undetected for years-usually until the child applies for a summer job, a student loan, or a credit card.
"Until that time, a thief can be racking up debt with credit cards and loans in the child's name," says Robert P. Chappell, Jr., a law enforcement officer and identity theft expert. "Once the crime is discovered and stopped, the child can be held responsible for the debt and unable to obtain legitimate credit for months or even years."
In his new book, Child Identity Theft: What Every Parent Needs to Know, Chappell describes who commits these crimes and the many reasons why.
"Identity theft is unrelated to income level," he warns, "and a theft can begin with information as basic as a child's name, address, and date of birth."
His book reveals how someone can access information from school records, medical office records, dental records, church records, a lost or stolen purse or wallet, a home invasion, discarded documents, the Internet, and by other methods. He explains what action needs to be taken if a child's identity has been stolen, and offers resources for dealing with the financial and emotional implications.
Throughout his book he provides preventive measures for parents to protect their children's identity. A first step is to obtain a free annual report of their own credit rating. To discover if credit has been used in a child's name, they should contact one of the credit rating agencies: Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion.
Additional actions he recommends include:
Written in a reader-friendly question-and-answer format, Child Identity Theft contains helpful information that applies to adults as well as children.
Robert P Chappell, Jr., is a veteran law enforcement officer who has worked with the Virginia State Police since 1987. He is currently a lieutenant with the Bureau of Field Operations.
Child Identity Theft: What Every Parent Needs to Know. By Robert P. Chappell, Jr.
Hardcover, 207 pages,
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
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