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A growing trend among identity theft cases is stealing children’s identities, according to the Federal Trade Commission. An estimated 500,000 children are victims of identity theft each year, and this trend isn’t likely to decrease either.

Why Children Make Easy Targets for Identity Theft

Children are an identity thief’s dream because they have clean records, spotless credit history and, because children are minors, these crimes often go undetected for years, giving the criminals plenty of time to wreak the most havoc. Unfortunately, parents often don’t think to monitor their child’s credit reports since children don’t have jobs, credit cards or conduct financial transactions.

Another unfortunate problem is that those stealing children’s identities aren’t just strangers preying on the youth and innocence of the children but are parents, guardians, siblings, relatives, neighbors and friends. If a parent has bad credit, for example, he might take out a credit card or loan in his child’s name in order to take advantage of the child’s clean record. Unfortunately, because both strangers and family are often involved, stealing children’s identities is one of the fastest growing categories of identity theft, next to young adults and small business owners, who tend to open themselves up to identity theft through less vigilant behavior.

How to Protect Your Child From Identity Theft

The first step in ascertaining whether your child might be at risk for identity theft is to request a copy of your child’s credit report and monitor this each year, just to make sure nothing untoward appears. Another way to protect your child from identity theft is to sign up for LifeLock and set up a LifeLock Identity Alert system for your child or children. LifeLock has the power to go beyond simply checking your child’s credit report, which only allows you to take action after a crime is committed, while LifeLock’s Identity Alert system will endeavor to prevent identity theft from occurring.

Just like LifeLock monitors your identity, they will do the same for your child and notify you by mail, email or telephone if your child’s personal information is being used to apply for utilities, wireless services, loans or credit cards. The credit bureau will only tell you once these things happen on the credit report. LifeLock can prevent it from going that far. Also, LifeLock will send you the necessary form for you to request your child’s earning report from the Social Security Administration (only the parent may request this) to identity protection. Finally, your child can also be protected by WalletLock, meaning any cards and identification that is lost or stolen will be replaced safely and your child will also be protected by LifeLock’s $1M guarantee.

LifeLock makes it simple for the entire family to be protected from identity theft and will hopefully help prevent these heinous crimes against children, who are largely left unprotected and without any other options until they reach age 18. LifeLock will help ensure that your child has the opportunity to establish their own credit history once the time comes and doesn’t become just another identity theft statistic.

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