Child Identity Theft Prevention Bill Heads to Hearing

March 08, 2017 01:09 PM

A Waseca state representative introduced a bill in St. Paul that would give parents the chance to freeze a child’s credit report in hopes of preventing identity theft.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 27 states including Wisconsin allow parents, legal guardians or other representatives of minors to place a security freeze on the minor's credit report at any time, but Minnesota is not on the list. 

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"We want to continually protect our children and their credit, because it has long-reaching issues into the future," said Rep. John Petersburg, the bill's author. “This is certainly something we should give parents the ability to do if they so choose."

The bill, H.F. 1243, would allow anyone who has guardianship or legal authority over a minor under 16 to file for a credit freeze with the three credit reporting bureaus.  

"A lot of times these parents don't find out until months, or in cases years," said detective Desiree Schroepfer of the Eagan Police Department. "That makes it very difficult for law enforcement to follow up on that." 

Earlier this week, a 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS investigation shared the ordeals of families dealing with child identity theft in the Twin Cities, and provided easy-to-understand tips for other parents to protect their children.

RELATED: In the Wrong Hands: Child Identity Theft

"The long-term effects are damaging and should be a wake-up call for parents," said Eva Velasquez of the Identity Theft Resource Center in San Diego.

A Carnegie Mellon University study found that more than 10 percent of the minors in the sample population had someone else using their Social Security Number. That rate is 51 times higher than the rate for adults in the 2011 report.

The bill is scheduled to be heard before two separate committees next week.


Eric Chaloux

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