Aside from the human cost, kids’ digital ID theft and fraud costs the US $1B a year
Considering the online safety of children is heavy enough without thinking about the financial losses involved in biometric and demographic fraud involving minors.
A new report from market analysis firm Javelin Strategy & Research looks at the least upsetting side of online crime involving minors — the cost of dealing with breaches and fraud.
As it stands, according to the November report, 1.25 million U.S. children were victimized by identity theft over the previous 12 months. On average, each incident cost families $1,100 — almost $1 billion annually across the country.
More than half of the kids who have had their digital identities stolen or been defrauded are no older than nine, and a sizeable majority of them know their victimizers.
The three platforms parents should particularly watch, according to Javelin, are Twitch — which is used by 31 percent of children — Twitter (30 percent) and Facebook (25 percent).
Subscription services with private-messaging capabilities should be monitored very closely. The same is true for services that make members visible in public searches.
Digital ID fraud tends to be associated with weak authentication, but authenticating children is a thorny proposition at the best of times, as the very young are unlikely to possess commonly used authentication tools like government ID documents and smartphones, and regulations such as COPPA set strict limits around what data can be collected from children.
Making online experiences safer and more appropriate for children is the motivation behind the UK’s Age Appropriate Design Code.