Identity theft of children targeted in Florida law

WEST PALM BEACH — Identity theft against children is one of the fastest growing variations of the crime, and Florida parents can now sign up to freeze a child’s credit.

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A bill spearheaded by Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam aimed at protecting Florida children from identity theft took effect this month.

“More than 50,000 children in Florida fall victim to identity theft every year,” Putnam said. “Now we have the capability to prevent our kids from facing serious financial challenges in the future by protecting their identities.”

More than $100 million is stolen every year from Florida children through identity theft. Fraudsters target children because their credit records are clean, and it often takes years before the crime is detected.

Previously, only adults were able to monitor or freeze their credit reports by calling one of the three credit monitoring agencies. There was no way to freeze a child’s credit report until this law went into effect.

Parents and guardians can now set up a credit record for their child and freeze it, protecting that child’s Social Security number and other personal information until the child is ready to use credit. The law would also apply to vulnerable adults who have a legal guardian.

The credit reporting bureaus — Experian, Equifax and Trans­Union — will charge a $10 fee to freeze a child’s credit. If a child has already been the victim of identity theft, the fee is waived.

To protect your child from identity theft, visit

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