The Center for Identity at The University of Texas at Austin has launched a new Child Identity Protection Task Force, which will be led by Texas Comptroller Susan Combs.
"Child identity theft and fraud result in a wide range of crimes against children. This is especially true when the Internet is involved. Kids use other identities to cyberbully. Child predators use fake identities to lure unsuspecting victims. Child identities are stolen for financial gain," warns Center for Identity Director Suzanne Barber.
Children's online activities can result in real harm financial, social and physical for children and parents. The Child Identity Protection Task Force, which met for the first time last week, will research solutions to identify and mitigate current and future risks to children's identities.
At the initial meeting, task force members established a framework to focus on prevention of child identity theft through educational outreach to parents and children. Each organization represented on the task force will provide an inventory of research and materials relating to child identity theft by May 9.
"I will work to keep Texas children safe, and I view protecting their identities as an important part of that responsibility," said Combs, who also is a member of the center's Board of Advisors. "The financial problem of identity theft is compounded for children, because they usually don't become aware they are victims until they are older and apply for a credit card or a loan to buy a car. By that time, the damage to their credit can be extensive. The social harm of online impostors bullying or preying on our children is devastating, and the UT Child Identity Protection Task Force will work tirelessly to help children and parents guard against these crimes."
Other task force members include representatives from the FBI, the U.S. Secret Service, TransUnion, LexisNexis and the Internet safety group WiredSafety.org.