By Seth Morin
Changes are coming for children and consumer protection. Starting July 1, parents and guardians will be able to put a security freeze on their children's credit reports - at least until the kids are 16 years old.
State Rep. Dan Forestal, D-Indianapolis, said the law - passed by the legislature as SB 394 - expands on existing protection that allows Hoosier adults to freeze their credit to protect them from fraud.
Now adults are not the only ones that will be protected; children will be, as well.
Forestal said he got the idea of adding children to consumer protection after Target was breached, and consumer identity information, including credit card numbers, social security numbers, and date of birth, were stolen.
He traveled throughout his district, talking about identity theft - and that's when he realized children were not protected. He said people do not realize how many children have been and are being taken advantage of financially.
"One of the biggest problems is sometimes they don't find out about it until years later," Forestal said. "By that time it is hard to prove they were taken advantage of."
He said once the law goes into effect, parents or legal guardians will be able to go to their county prosecutor's office to fill out paperwork. The parent or legal guardian will be given a PIN number that only they can use.
Forestal said the law adds another layer of security. "It's important to make sure people know it is available. People have been thrilled about it," he added. "Parents have wanted to know more about it, and it is a great way to protect kids' credit histories from being destroyed before they even get their first job."
Seth Morin is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students.