There are a number of options for adults to prevent their identities from being stolen, but frequently parents forget that children can be targets of theft.
A new bill by state Rep. John Petersburg, R-Waseca, and Sen. John Jasinski, R-Faribault, would protect children from identity theft by allowing a parent or guardian to request that credit reporting bureaus not release any information contained in their child’s credit report.
“For identity thieves, children are a prime hunting ground,” said Jasinski. “If a thief can get a hold of a child’s Social Security information, they might be able to use it for years before anyone notices In the meantime, the thieves could apply for credit cards, collect government benefits, rent a home, or countless other fraudulent activities. This bill gives parents a way to proactively protect their children from identity theft.”
“With the growing amount of cyber theft occurring in America today, parents should be allowed to make this proactive decision if they choose,” Rep. Petersburg said. “This legislation will give them that opportunity.”
Credit freezes could only be initiated and removed under specific circumstances:
• Parent or guardian must have proof of identity
• Children must be 16 or under
• Freezes would be implemented within 30 days
Credit bureaus do not create files for minors because they are not supposed to be given credit. The proposed bill provides a means of creating a record for a minor and then immediately placing a freeze on the distribution of that file.
Similar legislation has already been adopted in 27 states. There is no federal law for minors regarding credit freezes, so states are left to determine their own policies.
The bill passed both the House and Senate unanimously.