Parents learn 3-year-old girl's identity was stolen after her death

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Stacey Sager spoke with a couple who learned that their 3-year-old daughter's identity was stolen after her death. (WABC)

We often hear of identity theft, but it can affect children as well as adults.

It happened to one family, who had already been through so much, and now they want to make sure it doesn't happen to any parents or child.

"It was just a kick in the stomach," said Matt Hammond. He and his wife Lauren are speaking out, because they wouldn't want any other parent to go through their ordeal.

It was hard enough to lose their 3-year old daughter Loie. She died in January 2014, from a fatal genetic disorder.

"You're almost in denial and something like this, where her identity gets stolen, it's another thing that sets you back," said Lauren.

The Hammonds realized Loie's Social Security number had been compromised when they went to file their taxes last year.

But sadly, the problem continued this year as well, because the IRS couldn't issue a special PIN number on someone who had died.

"It's incomprehensible that this could happen to us again, especially filing taxes for a child that was three and a half years old," said Matt Hammond.

It is not something most parents think about. "My oldest is 10, and it's just not something that's really been on mind," said Upper West Side mom Emma Johnson.

Yet from school to the doctor, our kids Social Security numbers are out there. According to the Federal Trade Commission, more than 12,000 people ages 19 and under across the nation reported their identities stolen last year, about 6 percent of all the cases.

But the FTC estimates the problem is far worse, because identity thieves can sit on your child's information for years, till they're in their teens applying for a loan.

"And finding out that there's hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt taken out in their name," said Steven Toporoff of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Some tips: You can check the three credit reporting agencies to see if a credit report exists in your child's name.

Look for any credit offers, bills, or collection notices in their name in the mail.

Be aware of any major credit breaches in the news. And know your rights. 19 states right now allow parents of a minor to request a security freeze on their child's credit file.

As for what happened to the Hammonds and their child: "There's a possibility that she could own a couple of houses around the country, who knows, or have a couple of credit cards, a car, I don't know," said Matt. "It's despicable really, it's atrocious."

A crime worth fighting, to protect innocent victims for years to come.

Matthew Hammond in his own words: 'It was just a kick in the stomach'

Related Topics:
financepersonal financeidentity theft
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