State Representative Marlene Anielski (R-Walton Hills) applauded passage of House Bill 317, which is aimed at protecting minors from being victims of identity theft. The legislation allows credit reporting agencies to create a credit record for the minor and then apply a freeze to that record.

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.

“Establishing these type of credit protections allows our youth the opportunity to a brighter future,” Rep. Anielski said.  “I am happy to support an initiative that will strengthen the security against identity theft in Ohio.”

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

 House Bill 317 was sponsored by Representative Ron Maag (R–Lebanon) and now goes to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.

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