State Representative Mark Romanchuk (R-Ontario) today applauded passage of House Bill 317, which is aimed at protecting minors from being victims of identity theft. Today’s vote was a concurrence vote in which the Ohio House voted to agree with amendments made by the Ohio Senate.


This legislation allows credit reporting agencies to create a credit record for the minor and then apply a freeze to that record.


“Identity theft has become more rampant in recent years and House Bill 317 will help combat it,” said Rep. Romanchuk. “Parents should have the ability to protect their children in all aspects of their lives.”


Currently, Ohio law allows individuals to freeze their own credit when they have reason to believe their personal data has been compromised, however they are not able to do that on behalf of a child who does not have existing credit.


Given their young age, children can be easy targets for identity theft because they are a blank slate for credit and the fraud can go undetected for years. Many credit reporting agencies offer identity monitoring services, however these programs are not able to prevent the identity theft, but rather simply alert the individual as a reactionary remedy. Under HB 317, parents will be able to take preventative measures to protect their child’s identity.


According to the 2012 Child Identity Fraud Report, 1 in 40 households with minor children had at least one child whose personal information was compromised by identity criminals. Since the release of this report, 21 states have passed similar laws to HB 317 to protect consumers.


After passing the Ohio House unanimously in February, the Ohio Senate voted to amend the legislation to include language that prohibits certain personal information from being included in public records. This personal information includes state tax identification numbers, debit card numbers, bank account numbers and any other financial or medical account numbers.


House Bill 317 was sponsored by Representative Ron Maag (R–Lebanon) and now awaits approval by Governor Kasich before becoming law.

 
 
 
  
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