Why Are Children Ideal Targets for Identity Theft?
Children are ideal targets for identity thieves for two main reasons. First, a child does not have a credit history. When an identity thief steals the information of an adult, often times the banks have security mechanisms in place to prohibit the theft or close the accounts before too much damage is done. Because a child has no bank accounts, there is no security mechanism in place to deter the thieves or limit the damage. Second, there is no way to monitor the activity and there is no “norm” against which to examine patterns of spending. This makes it possible to use the child’s information longer without being detected. It is often the case that a child and his or her parents don’t become aware of the theft until they try to open an account when the child reaches the age of majority.
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Credit Freeze For Children
Lawmakers in Ohio recently drafted a bill specifically designed to address this threat. House Bill 317 allows parents to freeze their child’s credit record making it more difficult for a thief to open unauthorized accounts in a child’s name. Before the bill was passed in May, individuals could only freeze their own accounts, but not those of their children. The sponsor of the bill, Ohio Representative Ron Magg, was inspired to act when his daughter’s information was stolen after their family records were compromised. He and his wife could freeze their own accounts, but not his daughter’s. This type of situation is exactly why this legislation is so important. The damage that can be done to your child’s credit can be extensive and undoing that damage is difficult.
Virginia offers its own protections for children against identity theft. A provision in state law permits a credit freeze by a representative for a “protected consumer” (children under the age of 16 and incapacitated individuals). The representative must request the freeze in writing by certified mail to consumer reporting agency or by other secure methods authorized by the agency.