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Florida Foster Children Must Fight – and Be Protected From – Identity Theft

March 3rd, 2009   No Comments   Foster Care

By Howard Talenfeld

identity theft by d70focus from flickrWhen Todd Davis announces with confidence on national TV how LifeLock will protect subscribers from identity theft, it’s likely he’s not marketing to foster children.

Yet they’re just as vulnerable to identity theft as anyone else. Even more so, by some accounts. As a Florida attorney focused on protecting the rights of the state’s most vulnerable citizens, including those in foster care, I have seen the potential for abuse and identity theft these children face. We need to help them learn how to protect themselves today.

In a recent Newsweek article, “Sabotaged by the System,” writer Jesse Ellison told the story of Tyrome Sams, a 20-year-old former foster child. When he applied for credit cards, Sams was repeatedly refused. He later learned that eight years earlier someone had swiped his identity and accrued hundreds of dollars in utility bills.

“Sams’s case isn’t just an unfortunate fluke,” Ellison wrote in the magazine (http://www.newsweek.com/id/183711). “Identity theft among foster kids is common, and for good reason: they’re easy targets. They move often among various homes and schools, so their personal data pass through dozens of hands.” (more…)