KPIX-CBS / NewsMom Continuing Coverage:
After years of reporting on child identity theft and credit freezes, KPIX Consumer-Investigative Reporter Julie Watts set out to freeze her own toddler’s credit. What she discovered led to a year-long series of editorial blogs that ultimately prompted a new state law and the following series of KPIX consumer reports.
From medical records to insurance databases to school district computers, hackers are increasingly gaining access to our kids’ sensitive data. Research shows that kids could be 50 times more likely to have their identities stolen than adults, in part, because kids’ pristine credit records provide a blank slate for thieves and often go unchecked for more than 18 years.
While a credit freeze is widely believed to be the single best tool to prevent financial ID theft, the credit bureaus still refuse to let most parents freeze their kids’ credit unless they live in a state where consumer protection laws specifically require the bureaus to allow it.
Click Below For Child Credit Freeze How-To:
In “Why My Toddler Has a Credit Card,” Watts revealed the loophole that allowed her to freeze my daughter’s credit even though they lived in a state without a child credit freeze law.
However, she quickly discovered that the credit bureaus themselves were putting the identities of both parents and children at risk by using antiquate protocols. In “How I Forced the Bureaus to Freeze My Child’s Credit,” she outlined those security risks and detailed the 6-month effort to encourage changes.
Citing this continuing coverage, California Assemblyman Mike Gatto introduced the child credit freeze legislation AB 1580 that, for the first time, will give California parents the right to freeze their child’s credit before they are victimized.
UPDATE: It unanimously passed the state senate and assembly and the governor has now signed California’s Child Credit Freeze Legislation AB 1580.
Everyone from ID theft experts to state lawmakers to the FTC are now calling for a similar federal law.
H.R.1703 – Protect Children from Theft Act of 2015 was recently introduced into the House Financial Services Committee. It would, among other things, require the bureaus provide all parents with a secure method to implement a child credit freeze. However, the bill has stalled in committee due to party politics. Meanwhile, since it was introduced, millions of kids’ identities have been compromised via massive insurance and government hacks.
Due to the size of California’s population, many are now hopeful that the state’s child credit freeze law will encourage Transunion and Experian to voluntarily allow child credit freezes nationwide. Equifax has now begun voluntarily allowing child credit freezes in every state. However, for a freeze to be effective, you must freeze the file with all three bureaus.
For tips on how to freeze your kid’s credit, check out this first-of-its-kind “Step-By-Step Guide to Freeze Your Child’s Credit.”
The NewsMom resource provides a virtual road map for parents to safely freeze their kids’ credit. You’ll find a detailed summary of hard-to-find contact information, tips and sample documents specific to each bureau, along with a candid description of the hurdles and security concerns you may encounter along the way.