Identity Theft Targets Children: Florida Fights Back with New Law
A new class of victims targeted by identity thieves has come to light: children. In the last decade, children have attracted a significant amount of identity thieves who have targeted young children because of the least amount of attention that these crimes attract. Because children generally do not take out loans nor are involved with their finances, identity theft targeting children is unknown until the damage is done. According to a study conducted by the Identity Theft Assistance Center (ITAC), one in 40 survey respondents of the 5,100 adults polled with children under 18 years old had a child who was a victim of identity theft. The majority of the child victims had had their Social Security number stolen and 17 percent of these victims had been targeted for a year or longer.
Keeping I.D. Safe (KIDS) Act in Florida
In Florida, more than 50,000 children, most younger than the age of 5, have fallen prey to identity theft with more than $100,000,000 in damages each year. KIDS, Keeping I.D. Safe, is a new law, one of the first of its kind, that has come into effect this September, which helps protect children targeted by identity fraud. The new law permits parents to open credit records for their children with the consumer protection bureaus and then put an immediate freeze on the child’s information so as to protect the child from credit attacks.
Purpose of KIDS Act
This type of law is extremely important for the protection of children and their consumer credit reports. Children whose information has been hacked or stolen may accrue a significant amount of debt and, when they finally reach the age where a credit score is necessary, may find that they are unable to get a loan for college tuition or be able to lease a car or apartment. Attempting to untangle the amount of financial hardship attributed to identity theft could take years. This new law may help catch identity theft at the beginning when the child is still young enough to not feel the effect of this financial hardship and could resolve the issue before it becomes time to apply for college loans or lease an apartment.
How Parents Can Protect their Children
Parents can help to avoid identity theft by not only opening one of these credit records and freezing it for their children, but also do their due diligence by not providing their children’s Social Security information without first identifying whether the person requesting the information is a trustworthy source and the reasoning behind the request. If you do decide to give the information to what you believe is a trustworthy source, it is best to do it verbally without including it in an email or other type of electronic correspondence. This is to ensure that hackers are not able to access the information by intercepting emails with this sensitive information. Another way to protect your child is to keep their Social Security card in a safe place and not carry it around with you unless necessary.
Criminal Defense Attorney in Fort Lauderdale
Children are not the only ones that need protecting. If you or a loved one has been charged with identity theft, you will need an experienced criminal defense attorney to advocate on your behalf. Identity theft is a serious crime and significant criminal and significant penalties attach. To make sure that justice is served on your behalf, contact Kevin J. Kulik in Fort Lauderdale, who will be able to review the facts of your case and make sure that you are being expertly defended. Call today for a confidential consultation of your case.