The Identity Theft Resource Center recently engaged in a partnership with Access, Inc. Access is a non-profit organization based in San Diego which provides access to education, workforce training and support services to empower at-risk youth and young adults in transitioning to achieve self sufficiency and economic independence. Access, a non-profit organization, recently contacted the Identity Theft Resource Center, asking if we would be able to provide training for each of their youth classes as they approach graduation.
What does identity theft have to do with at-risk youth? Part of the population that Access works with is foster youth. Many of these foster youth are approaching the age when they will be emancipated from the foster system. This is a scary time for any young adult, but in the case of many of Access’ clients it can also be a time of unpleasant discovery. When these young adults begin to engage in the process of applying for jobs, housing or government services, some will find that they have been a victim of identity theft. With this discovery, they find themselves economically crippled, and unable to make the transition into adulthood. Unfortunately child identity theft is all too common for any youth. However, at-risk-youth often find themselves the unknowing target of such fraud.
There are many reasons that foster youth are at higher risk than other youth. First, when a child is removed from a parent, the parent still retains all of the child’s sensitive Personal Identifying Information (PII). If a child is being removed from a parent’s custody, there are most likely problems that the parents are facing. Sometimes these parental problems are economic, and a parent will realize that one answer to the problem is to use their child’s personal information to create new unburdened accounts. Another issue for foster children is that their personal information is being moved constantly from one living situation to another, and access to this information is not always protected correctly. An average child will in general have to provide their social security number to a very limited number of people. However, a foster child’s personal information will be given to others again and again as they continue to receive governmental services. This condition, under which a foster youth’s information is moved and distributed often, raises the risk that the child will become a victim of identity theft.
It was with these concerns in mind that Access contacted the ITRC to provide training for both their staff and the youth in their program about identity theft. Trainings for Access staff focused on how identity theft occurs, signs that the child may be a victim, and how to protect the personal information of the children under their care. The trainings for the youth informed them about how to determine if they have been a victim, steps to take to go about clearing up their case, and ways to protect themselves in the future. Recent trainings have been wonderfully successful, and the ITRC will continue to work with Access to tackle the problems their young people face. It is the hope of the ITRC that these types of partnerships will continue to thrive and remain beneficial to populations which otherwise may not understand the issue of identity theft.
For more information on Access you can visit their website at www.access2jobs.org.
“A New Partnership to Benefit Foster Children” was written by Nikki Junker. Nikki is the Social Media Manager at the Identity Theft Resource Center. We welcome you to post/reprint the above article, as written, giving credit to and linking back to the original article.