City Kids Vulnerable to ID Theft: Schumer

City Kids Vulnerable to ID Theft: Schumer

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y) this week announced that he is introducing legislation aimed at protecting children from having their credit history ruined by identity theft.

Schumer noted that children under the age of 18 are particularly vulnerable to identity thieves because their credit accounts are often unmonitored, and their credit account is particularly attractive to thieves because they have a clean credit history.  Because children’s credit reports are rarely monitored, the theft of a child’s identity could go undetected for years and it’s often not until a child is ready to open a line of credit at the bank or set up a joint credit card with a parent that the theft is discovered.

Schumer’s bill, which he plans to introduce next week, would automatically freeze the credit of children under 18 until the credit agency confirms that a parent is the one requesting the action and wishes to un-freeze the credit of their minor. Schumer says that this legislation is critical because it will give the parents of millions of children across the city and state greater peace of mind and better protections for their children, especially when it comes to ensuring their financial lives do not begin in a deep credit hole.

Schumer said that “we need to make sure our youngest New Yorkers are protected from predatory identity thieves looking to steal their personal data and sink their credit before they even enter high school or college. The reality is many of these victims do not even realize their identity has been stolen until it is too late—and at which point it could take years to build back up. With over two million minors in New York City, it’s clear something needs to be done to protect their identities and their credit from thieves. That is why my legislation would automatically keep a child’s credit under lock and key until their family is ready for them to start building credit.”

Currently some states, including New York, have systems in place that allow parents to voluntarily “freeze” their child’s credit in order to thwart identity thieves. Schumer said his legislation would go one step further by automatically locking access to children’s credit accounts.

“Parents should be concerned about things like whether or not their child misses the school bus each day, not whether or not that child’s financial future is being taken for a ride by a fraudulent thief who might have gained access to a child’s personal information via a school, the doctor’s office or at a summer camp,” Schumer added.


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