Child Identity Theft: What Every Parent Needs to Know
Child Identity Theft:What Every Parent Needs to Know, Robert Chappell, Jr.
(Rowman & Littlefield, 2013), hb., 207 pp.
Unlike most books reviewed here, this is not a book for reading to your kids, but it is one to talk about with your kids. I suppose we have all heard about identity theft, but when I saw this book about child identity theft and noticed it was written by a decorated officer who has worked extensively in this area, it caught my attention.
Thieves are often particularly interested in stealing a child’s identity because they have no prior credit history and illegal activity on a child’s identity can go on undetected much longer. Chappell cites examples where this has occurred and gives wide ranging advice on how to protect your family from this sort of theft.
Chappell does not write in inflammatory tones or use scare tactics. I really appreciated the no-nonsense, common sense approach he used. Furthermore the book is laid out as a series of questions and answers making it very user-friendly, allowing you to go straight to the information most relevant to you.
Many who read this blog will be in families, like ours, who are nowhere close to some of the high risk behaviors mentioned in the book. Many, like us, will already have guidelines in place concerning internet usage and will generally be cautious about important items. However, if you appreciate the value of preparedness and carefulness, then you want to pay attention when a qualified person gives you further information and warnings. And, though we try to be quite careful, this book showed me areas where we needed to improve and things I needed to talk about with my kids.
I was unaware of the variety of programs available to thieves for tricking anyone, including our children, into giving sensitive information over the phone- free apps, for example, which allow you to disguise your voice and to disguise the number from which you are calling. I have seen how easy it is to be tricked by phishing scams online, but had not yet thought to warn my children about these. I also found helpful his warning about carrying in your purse or wallet more personal information about your kids than necessary.
Chappell also discusses potential vulnerabilities when travelling and issues concerning the safety personal records at schools 9which could apply to day-cares & churches).
After reading this book, I called together my older kids and went over some of the things mentioned here making sure they were aware and knew how to respond. I recommend this book to families, schools & churches as one more tool in doing what we can to be wise and careful.