How Much Is Your Childs Personal Data Worth?

$10 Is the Answer, According to Hackers on the Dark Web

David Cullinan
Feb 25 · 4 min read
Image source: Vox.com

The topic of data breaches is a big deal at the moment, with barely a few weeks passing without an incident popping up in the media.

We’ve seen reports that cyber attacks have risen by as much as five times in the financial sector, as well as dating sites being hit.

There’s one aspect of the data breach topic that is rarely discussed though.

The data of children.

I know what you’re maybe thinking, what kind of data could a child have that’s worth stealing? Is there even anything there from which a hacker could profit?

The answer is a resounding yes.

It was reported by The Next Web that we’re seeing a subtle change in the way that hackers are going about their business.

Most of us operate on the assumption that data fraudsters are interested in adults, which makes sense, as we’re the people who have credit cards, bank accounts and other data that could prove valuable in the wrong hands.


What value does data belonging to a first grader have?

In all honesty, you’d be surprised.

Child data packages, sold in what can only be described as family packs, which include the child’s SSN along with their parent’s information, started surfacing around 2016 according to reports.

The cost of such information? $10.

A screengrab of a hacker advertising children's data for sale | Image source: TNW.com

How can fraudsters use your Childs data?

One of the more popular crimes that someone can commit using your Childs data is tax fraud, in the form of falsified tax returns that involve filing for child tax credit in your Childs name.

As horrendous as that may sound, it gets worse.

Synthetic identity fraud is currently among the fastest growing forms of identity theft, and this particular strand is considered to be among the hardest to identify and tackle for law enforcement.

Usually, identify theft involves taking an individuals identity and exploiting it for financial gain. This typically comes in the form of credit card numbers, social security information, bank details or whatever.

The common factor that runs through this type of identity theft is that it involves a real, adult citizen, and the information pertaining to their real-life financial assets.

Synthetic identity fraud works in a different way.

Essentially, this involves piecing together an entirely new identity, using critical information from a collection of individuals.

The vital ingredient in this type of fraud?

An unused social security number.

Who has an unused and largely unchecked social security number? Children.

Until your child finally takes that first step into adulthood and applies for a student loan or a credit card their information sits dormant, waiting on them reaching legal age.

Criminals can take that unused social security number and use it as the basis for a false identity, eventually gaining access to credit, which they can take advantage of for years to come, depending on the age of the child who owns the information.

It’s believed that synthetic identity fraud could account for as much as 20 percent of credit losses, totaling some $6 billion in 2016.

Those numbers are most likely a lot higher today.

The truth is, in a rush to safeguard our personal data we’ve forgotten about the data belonging to our children.

A few weeks ago Facebook was found to be encouraging users as young as 13 to provide their mobile phone data for as little as $20 per month.

As criminals up their game in the relentless pursuit of our data, we need to up ours as we fight to defend it.

The game has changed, and our children are now in the firing line as well.

David Cullinan

Written by

Blockchain, crypto & fintech writer. My work can be found on Yahoo Finance, Hacker Noon, The Irish Tech News, and Crypto Daily.

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