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Maryland's Landmark Child Identity Theft Law Goes into Effect Jan. 1

Nation's first such law allows parents to protect children from identity thieves.

OUTSIDE BALTIMORE, MD -- On Jan. 1, 2013, the nation's first law allowing parents to "freeze" their minor children's credit at any time to protect them from identity theft will take effect in the state of Maryland.

Currently, according to a recent Washington Post article, credit agencies are obliged to place a freeze of the credit of anyone with a credit history, but not those who do not have a pre-existing credit report, such as a minor.  

A 2011 report from the Carnegie Mellon University CyLab found that more than 10% of the children surveyed had their Social Security number used by someone else, a figure 51 times higher than adults in the same study. The Huffington Post cited ID Analytics statistics that about 140,000 identity frauds against minors occur each year.           

Maryland delegate Craig Zucker (D-District 14), who sponsored the bill told the Huffington Post, "This just freezes the information to ensure that it's not used for ill purposes."

The law applies to children under the age of 16, as well as an incapacitated person who has a legal guardian.

Cutwould January 01, 2013 at 04:35 AM
This could all been avoided had the "government" bless 'em, enforced thier own regulations concerning the use of SS numbers. It was always my understanding that SS numbers were not permitted to be used for identification except by the SS administration in issueing benifits. Businesses and other government agencies ignored this and demanded the numbers or credit would not be given or other government services denied. Too late now to change things back but once again it's just more proof that you cannot trust government to get anything right in the long run.
Don Smith January 01, 2013 at 01:35 PM
Credit bureaus don't issue SSNs. That would be the government ensuring everyone can be tracked and, more importantly, pays their taxes.
Helena January 01, 2013 at 03:46 PM
That is so sad about your granddaughter. Its like someone destroying her credit before she even has a chance to grow up. I hope you contacted her parents or the proper authorities.
Nilda Rich January 01, 2013 at 03:54 PM
How do you check a child's credit report? I have legal custody of one of my grandchildren and cannot get the credit bureaus to give me a copy of the child's credit report.
Bill Barton January 01, 2013 at 06:04 PM
A parent or legal guardian can get a minor's credit report. Contact any of the 3 credit bureaus, and I suggest doing all 3 of them, and as the legal parent/guaradian tell them the situation. Be prepared to give them your ID information as you could be a person who is trying to get information to misuse the child's ID. The credit bureaus have to protect the privacy of their records, hence they need to know who is inquiring. Another avenue would be to get your banker or other trusted person or company to 'run' a credit check on the minor maybe for a small fee. If there's no transactions for the minor, they show up as a 'ghost' on the credit bureau database. And if there's a problem with the child's credit report or if it's been compromised, you need to put a freeze on it. You can remove the freeze at any time, perhaps in the future after the problems have been solved. You should also file a report with the Federal Trade Commission, they have a website, to report any and all illegal use of SS numbers and credit fraud. Police reports in your area also help as anyone doing ID theft doesn't just use one or two person's ID, they go after many and often are caught.

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