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Florida legislation would protect kids from identity theft

Oct 15, 2013 Dave King

Children don't seem like they would be a target of identity theft, but in Florida, more than 50,000 have personal information compromised every year - leading to the theft of around $100 million, according to WTSP​-TV.

Short term lenders need to be one of the first lines of defense against this type of crime, as identity thieves generally attempt to open loans with stolen information. Strong ID verification procedures are a must to ensure people applying for credit aren't using a fraudulent name.

Lawmakers in Florida are taking an additional step to help prevent child identity theft by creating a law that would allow parents to create and freeze credit records for their kids, the source noted.

"We have case after case that we've seen even of teachers stealing kids' credit," Sen. Nancy Detert, told the source. "Their Social Security numbers are out there and often used for school events and other events, so they're susceptible to this crime."

In addition to implementing strong ID verification procedures, short term lenders should also provide clients with the potential warning signs of child identity theft so parents can protect their daughters and sons.

- Credit offers: Before a child is 18, there is no reason why they should be receiving pre-qualified credit card offers. So, any parent who begins to see these come in the mail for their kid should be suspicious about possible identity theft, according to Allstate. Minors will never be sent a credit card offer on purpose, so even if parents think it was just a mistake, they should investigate the situation to be sure.

- A Social Security account statement: When Americans begin contributing to Social Security, they may receive an account statement. But, unless a minor is working, they shouldn't get this document. Therefore, any child who is mailed something from this program - and doesn't hold a part-time job- may be a victim.

- Collection calls: Children don't have any means of generating debt, so if collection calls come to a home for someone under 18, parents may want to look into the possibility of identity theft. It would be easy to brush off the call as a possible mistake, but is important to take these situations seriously as a damaged credit score before reaching the age of 18 can be crippling.