1.7 Million U.S. Children Fell Victim to Data Breaches, According to Javelin’s 2022 Child Identity Fraud Study
Instances of child identity fraud saw a healthy decline from 2021 to 2022, but social media and internet risks put children at greater risk of identity theft
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., October 26, 2022–Javelin Strategy & Research’s 2022 Child Identity Fraud Study reveals that 915,000 U.S. children were victims of identity fraud in the past year, costing an average of $1,128 for a single household—$752 for the fraud itself and $376 out-of-pocket to resolve the fraud—while spending 16 hours on resolution overall.
This complimentary report analyzes U.S. consumer responses about child identity theft and fraud collected from 5,000 U.S. households earlier this year. This report was made possible by our sponsors and partners, AARP and Savvy Cyber Kids. AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. Savvy Cyber Kids is a non-profit organization that educates parents, guardians, educators and children about how children’s identities and development are adversely affected by unrestricted internet access and use.
Javelin found that beyond suffering from identity fraud, more U.S. children were adversely affected in the past year by a data breach, with 1.7 million—1 in every 43—having personal information exposed and potentially compromised. Javelin finds a direct correlation between children’s use of social media and the increase in the number of children who are being exposed online. In fact, Javelin found that children under the age of 7 were most likely to be victimized by ID theft and subsequent ID fraud.
Javelin’s latest findings show that parents and guardians can reduce risk for their families and children by taking the threats posed by social media and unrestricted internet access seriously. The vast majority of U.S. households (91%) have children who are active on social media.
“Unfortunately, seven in 10 parents and guardians disregard the need to monitor their children’s social media accounts,” said Tracy Kitten, director of the Fraud & Security Practice at Javelin. “Children often become victims of identity theft and subsequent fraud because of a data breach, a scam that cons them into giving out personal information, or by having a social media or email account taken over.”
Kitten added that it’s not strangers who put children at the greatest risk, as 67% of households with child victims of identity fraud personally knew the perpetrators. With social media, the number of people who have more personal connections with children has grown exponentially in the past few years. It’s not surprising that those closest to child victims are often the ones who perpetrate ID theft and fraud against them. In fact, a parental figure—a parent or guardian’s partner or spouse, or a stepparent—is the most likely perpetrator.
Javelin strives to provide resources and education to financial institutions, law enforcement, government agencies, and early educational institutions about steps they can and should take to inform consumers about the risks of child ID theft and fraud. This report offers actionable recommendations for consumers, financial institutions, insurance companies, and employers on how to help curb child identity fraud.
A complimentary copy of the 2022 Child Identity Fraud Study is available at www.javelinstrategy.com/2022-child-identity-fraud-report.
About Javelin Strategy & Research
Javelin Strategy & Research, part of the Escalent family, helps its clients make informed decisions in a digital financial world. It provides strategic insights to financial institutions, including banks, credit unions, brokerages and insurers, as well as payments companies, technology providers, fintechs, and government agencies. Javelin’s independent insights result from a rigorous research process that assesses consumers, businesses, providers, and the transactions ecosystem. It conducts in-depth primary research studies to pinpoint dynamic risks and opportunities in digital banking, payments, fraud & security, lending, and wealth management. For more information, visit javelinstrategy.com. Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.