Plan Would Fight Identity Theft, One Baby At A Time


To protect their children from identity theft, parents could establish and immediately freeze a child’s credit report shortly after they’re born, under a plan being considered by State Assembly lawmakers.

Greendale Republican Jeff Stone, one of the bill’s sponsors, says in the past there wouldn’t have been a need for a plan like this, because people waited until they were teenagers to get Social Security numbers. “Now people obtain Social Security numbers for their children pretty much immediately after birth, and so you have a really wide window there when people can steal that credit and abuse it,” Stone says. “It’s really unlikely to go checked by parents.”

Stone says if someone does steal a child’s Social Security number to get credit, a parent has to go through a long process of cleaning up their child’s credit report. “There’s no way right now to do what we’re talking about, which is really [to] create a credit record for your child – a credit report – and then freeze it so that no damage is done.”

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Stone’s bill would let parents do just that, as soon as a child gets a Social Security number or any time before they turn 16. At that point, that freeze would be lifted. The plan has already received a public hearing and has the backing of Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester).