TULSA, OK -- It is a problem with children some Oklahoma parents are finding out about all too late. It is identity theft that targets children long before they have a bank account.
This is a problem that could hurt the nation's credit system. That is because by the time the child is grown up and can buy things, their credit is messed up and it could cost a lot of money to get everything fixed.
Experts familiar with this problem say there are online businesses that use computers to find social security numbers not being used, for example young children.
Those numbers are sold under another name to help people establish credit and run up a lot of debt that will never get paid off.
Authorities don't know how wide-spread this is because it's hard to detect and practiced by businesses that are considered "fly-by-night."
"People are doing what's called synthetic identity theft. They're taking a child's social security information and they're combining with other relevant data and using it to buy things," said John Fraser, executive director Pre-Paid Legal Services in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
So what happens if you or your child is the victim of identity theft?
First, contact police. Some departments will require you to go online and fill out a report. Just ask.
Second, look for a company that offers identity theft restoration.
Third, if identity theft happens once, there's a good chance it could happen again to you. Check with your employer to see if that company offers identity theft coverage.
And last, make sure you keep a close eye on your credit.