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Maryland's Landmark Child Identity Theft Law Goes into Effect Jan. 1

Nation's first such law allows parents to protect children from identity thieves.

 

On Jan. 1, 2013, the nation's first law allowing parents to "freeze" their minor children's credit at any time to protect them from identity theft will take effect in the state of Maryland.

Currently, according to a recent Washington Post article, credit agencies are obliged to place a freeze of the credit of anyone with a credit history, but not those who do not have a pre-existing credit report, such as a minor.  

A 2011 report from the Carnegie Mellon University CyLab found that more than 10% of the children surveyed had their Social Security number used by someone else, a figure 51 times higher than adults in the same study. The Huffington Post cited ID Analytics statistics that about 140,000 identity frauds against minors occur each year.           

Maryland delegate Craig Zucker (D-District 14), who sponsored the bill told the Huffington Post, "This just freezes the information to ensure that it's not used for ill purposes."

The law applies to children under the age of 16, as well as an incapacitated person who has a legal guardian.

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