Target 2: Protecting Your Child from ID Theft - WBAY

Target 2: Protecting Your Child from ID Theft

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Green Bay -

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, it's the number one complaint.  It cost consumers more than one billion dollars last year.

You might protect your personal information, but what about your child's information? There's a new state law to help parents do just that.

Tammy Elliott reports:

At Mayflower Nursery School in Green Bay, there's no shortage of energy. At drop off, parents make sure kids have everything they need for the day ahead.

Safety is priority for parents.  It's such a concern, one dad asked us to protect his identity.

"Very careful to hide things on social media, Facebook," he said.

But parents might not realize children have something uniquely valuable to identity thieves: their social security number.

According to a 2012 report by AllClear ID, children under the age of 5 are the the fastest growing category of victims.

Wisconsin Consumer Protection says a child's social security number is virtually a blank slate.

"Because there is no credit history, it can be paired with any name and address so it makes it very easy for an identity thief to use that to commit fraud," says Sandy Chalmers, Wisconsin Trade & Consumer Protection.

The fraud can go undetected until kids are old enough to apply for their own credit or a job.

Typically, parents haven't been able to freeze a child's credit because kids don't have credit in the first place. Wisconsin is now one of seven states with a law to give parents that right.

Under "The Child Credit Protection Act" passed in the state this year, parents can create and instantly freeze credit records for their children until their 16th birthday. It's a 10 dollar fee to each of the three major credit bureaus.

"So now under law in Wisconsin, parents have the ability to take proactive steps to prevent identity theft from happening to their child," says Chalmers.

The question now: Will freezing a child's credit will be a priority for parents?

"It sounds like great idea. I'm all for preventative measures to take to protect them. In reality though I don't see a lot of people doing that," said the dad who did not want to be identified.

The Department of Financial Institutions says your child's savings account or college savings account doesn't create a credit file.

Kids get a credit file when parents add them as an authorized user on a credit card, or apply jointly with an adult, or if they have any debt turned over to a credit agency.

Be suspicious if you get any collection notices or bills in your child's name.

For more details on how to take advantage of the new protection, or file a complaint visit this website:

http://datcp.wi.gov/Consumer/Office_of_Privacy_Protection/Security_Freeze/index.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1






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