The Florida Senate Committee on Commerce and Tourism unanimously supported the Keep I.D. Safe (KIDS) Act this Monday, a bill designed to help reduce child identity theft in the state. Florida is a known hotspot for identity theft and fraud.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) compiles and analyzes complaints submitted to the FTC, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), Better Business Bureaus and other organizations by crime and state in an annual report titled the Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book. Florida has been listed by the report as the state with the highest per capita rate of reported identity theft complaints for the last four years in a row.
Children, and especially foster children, are vulnerable to identity theft because they are considered high value targets by identity thieves. Due to their lack of a credit report or history, they are blank slates that an identity thief can abuse for years before the child or parents ever find out. When the child first applies for a credit card, student loan or anything that requires credit, they discover all the fraud that has been conducted in their name and are denied the credit.
Child identity theft is detrimental to the child as it can postpone college due to student loan denials, gaining employment, purchasing their first vehicle, and accessing credit. This delay lasts however long it takes the child to dispute all the fraudulent activity and have them cleared from their credit reports, which can take months or even years.
During the announcement for the bill, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Adam H. Putnam said, “more than 50,000 Florida children are victims to this exploitation each year, and more than $100 million is stolen every year from those whose identities are compromised.” Adam Putnam has worked with Sen. Nancy Detert and Rep. Heather Dawes to introduce the KIDS Act, which is estimated to prevent 10,000 children from identity theft each year and save Florida more than $21 million annually by department economist Sergio Alvarez.
The KIDS Act (SB 242, HB 151) will follow in the footsteps of Maryland’s child identity theft law in that it enables parents or guardians to create a credit report for their children and subsequently freeze it to block an identity thief from abusing their credit. The House KIDS Act bill was referred to the Business and Professional Regulation Subcommittee just yesterday and has not scheduled a vote as of yet.
“Florida Child Identity Theft Bill Progresses in Senate” was written by Sam Imandoust, Esq., CIPP, CIPA. He serves as a legal analyst for the Identity Theft Resource Center. We welcome you to post/reprint the above article, as written, giving credit to the author and linking back to the original posting.