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Texas takes steps to prevent child identity theft

Jan 07, 2014 Dave King

Texas takes steps to prevent child identity theft

Consumers face identity theft risk nearly every day. Whether they are shopping online or throwing away bank statements, there is a chance personal information could be stolen. As a result, consumer credit scores could decline greatly, which is why prevention is important.

One group of people that is adversely affected by identity theft is children. According to KVUE-TV, Texas legislators recently implemented a law that could help prevent the occurrences of this crime in non-adults.

Senate Bill 60 allows parents to create a security freeze on the credit files of their children 16 years and younger.

"A staggering number of Texas children have fallen victim to illegal child identity theft, putting them at risk for credit problems before they ever reach adulthood," Texas Senator Jane Nelson said in a statement.

Even with this law, there is still the risk of child identity theft. For this reason, short term lenders and other financial institutions should help with consumer education and make customers aware of the signs of this crime, such as:

- Unsolicited credit offers: Unless children are 18 years or older there is no reason that he or she should be receiving credit card offers. So, if parents get unsolicited offers in the mail for their kids it is important not to just brush them off. These types of offers are never intentionally sent to minors so this is one of the biggest signs of identity theft in people under the age of 18.

- Offers to join AARP, AAA and other organizations: Another major sign of child identity theft is mail attempting to get children to sign up for organizations. Parents may find it funny that their child received an offer to become a member of AAA when they don't even drive, but these pieces of mail can not be ignored. Identity thieves often use personal information to join these types of organizations, so parents that receive these offers should look into whether or not their child is a victim of identity theft.

- Collection calls: People who have past due debt should expect to receive collection calls. However, the same can't be said for children who are under the age of 18 and don't have any debt. It would be easy for parents to get annoyed and just ignore these calls, but that could lead to a much more damaging situation for the child. Whenever a collection call is received soliciting children, parents need to look into identity theft.

- Social Security account statements: Unless a child under 18 has a part time job, there is no reason for them to receive a Social Security account statement. So, children who receive these statements in the mail have likely been a victim of identity theft.