New Law to Protect Children’s Social Security Numbers
By Patrick Lynn
A new state law will help prevent thieves from stealing children’s private information to create fake credit accounts.
Among the first of its kind in the nation, the Wisconsin Child Credit Protection Act allows parents to take better control of their children’s credit history. Parents who contact the three major credit-reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — can create and freeze credit records for their children until they turn 16.
State leaders say they aren’t sure how widespread the problem of youth credit fraud is, but according to the Wisconsin Consumer Protection Division enough parents voiced concern for the Legislature to create the new law.
“The problem was, children didn’t have the same credit protections that adults had,” said Sandy Chalmers, who runs the division. “Criminals know those gaps exist so they were able to exploit them. This law fills in those gaps.”
Chalmers aid the law also allows legal guardians to freeze credit accounts of vulnerable adults including mentally handicapped individuals and elderly relatives with dementia.