The Better Business Bureau is warning of a new “free child safety kit” scam that targets sensitive information about children.
According to the Bureau, the scam is used as a way to obtain information that can later be used to steal a child’s identity.
Victims of the scam are contacted over the phone or via social media by a person purporting to be from a company that provides free child safety kits. The kits are supposed to contain up-to-date pictures of the child, the child’s height, weight, birthdate, fingerprints, and a strand of their hair.
While such kits are recommended by safety experts, the scammers tell their victims that in order to receive the free kit, parents must give them personal information about their children, including Social Security numbers, birthdates, addresses, and other information.
That part of the exchange is what parents should be on the lookout for, as scammers can use the information to steal a child’s identity.
“If you give up your child’s personal information, they may become a victim of identity theft,” Steve Bernas, the CEO of the BBB of Chicago and Northern Illinois, said. ‘Scammers know that people rarely, if ever, check their child’s credit report, which means they can get away with using a child’s name and information for years before being found out. In addition, children’s credit scores are a clean slate, making them an ideal target.”
The Bureau recommends that consumers never give out personal information about their children to strangers, and to be wary of unsolicited offers.