Maryland lawmakers have approved a first-of-its-kind bill that enables parents to take steps to protect their kids' identities. Gov. Martin O'Malley is expected to sign the Maryland Child Identity Lock bill, which allows parents to take the step of freezing their child's credit at any time.
Supporters hope it will be a model for other states to protect not only children, but also disabled and elderly people who can be particularly vulnerable to identity theft.
Credit agencies do not knowingly create credit reports for minors under the age of 18. When credit bureaus collect data for people applying for credit from lending partners, they get a name and Social Security number, but they don't have data to double check someone's actual age due to a lack of information sharing between credit reporting agencies and the Social Security Administration.
Under current Maryland law, credit agencies must place a security freeze on the credit of anyone who requests it. However, they can refuse to lock the credit of those who do not have a pre-existing credit report. That's a problem for children. If they have a credit report, it likely means they're already a victim of fraud.