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One Million Victims and $2.6 Billion Loss to Child Identity Theft in 2017

While 19 percent of US adults who were notified of a data breach fell victim to identity fraud last year, more than twice as many children implicated in data breaches experienced identity theft. This resulted in $2.6 billion in total losses associated with child identity fraud, of which $540 million was borne by the victims’ families out-of-pocket.

Javelin Strategy & Research along with Identity Guard recently published the 2018 Child Identity Fraud Study, which found that 11 percent of households with a minor had at least one minor’s identity compromised. The study also pointed out notable differences with identity theft when it impacts children versus adults.

According to Javelin, just 19 percent of adults implicated in data breaches suffered identity fraud last year, compared to 40 percent of minors. Additionally, identity fraud against a minor is much more likely to perpetrate by someone the victim knows or trusts. A child’s identity is stolen by someone they or their family knows personally 60 percent of time, compared to just 7 percent of adults.

Child identity theft also tends to target and hit younger children the hardest. According to the study, two-thirds of child identity fraud victims are under the age of eight compared to 20 percent who were between 8 and 12 and 14 percent between 13 and 17 years of age.

Identity thieves target children because it is likely the victims or their families will not catch the fraud as quickly as it would be caught for an adult. This may be one reason 40 percent of children implicated in a data breach became victims of identity fraud. There were more than one million children impacted by identity fraud in the United States in 2017. In many cases, child identity theft is not caught until fairly late, leading to more hassle and costs for the victim’s family.

Child identity fraud costs the victim’s family $541 out-of-pocket, compared to just $104 per incident for adults who fall victim to identity fraud. The average total loss amount associated with each incidence of child identity fraud is over $2,300, which is more than twice the total cost for adult victims.

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