Family warns of dangers of child identity theft - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Family warns of dangers of child identity theft

(Source: AP Graphics Bank) (Source: AP Graphics Bank)
(KAIT/NBC) -

One Florida couple found out the fallout from this year's tax returns didn't spare their infant son, and it's a warning for parents everywhere.

Michelle and David Becerra welcomed their son Matthew in November, but in March David said he received an unexpected call from his accountant. Someone had already used Matthew's social security number to claim him as a dependent on their tax return. Jennifer Kuehl, a special agent working IRS criminal investigations in south Florida, said oftentimes the fraudulent tax return is just the beginning.

"It could be, they could try to open up a loan.  Did they try and open a bank account?  We don't know," said Kuehl.

So far, the Becerra family said their son's social hasn't been used for those purposes. However, their story isn't unique. According to a 2011 Carnegie Mellon study, a child's risk of a social security number being used is 51 times higher than an adult.

"You don't want to give your personal information, your financial information to anyone who doesn't need it," Said Kuehl.

She said that included doctor's offices. This couple said they never gave Matthew's social security number to anyone, so they were puzzled by how this happened. They had to file an identity theft affidavit with their tax returns this year but believed it'll be months before the mess with the IRS is cleared up.

"It's very stressful because it's just another headache to go through for no reason," said Michelle Becerra. 

The family also reached out to the three credit bureaus and are working to freeze Matthew's credit. They've also applied for a special code called an IP pin from the IRS - it acts as another layer of security. They plan to use it next year when they file their taxes.

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