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South Carolina bill protecting kids from identity theft passes

In many crimes, children are the most vulnerable because of their youth and because they are unable to fully protect themselves. They are also prone to Internet crimes like identity theft. However, legislation that seeks to protect South Carolina children from identity theft is making progress. The bill recently passed in the state House of Representatives.

The bill sought identity theft protection for children by empowering their parents to order a security freeze on their credit. The legislation would also allow guardians of vulnerable adults to freeze their credit. The bill was introduced by Senator Katrina Shealy, after the Department of Revenue's computers were hacked. The hacker stole valuable private data from millions of taxpayers in the state. The incident led to parents realizing that their children were vulnerable to such theft as well.

According to the senator, the Social Security numbers of children appear on the tax returns of their parents. A person could steal the numbers and use them as their own numbers and run up bad credit in a child's name. It may take some time, maybe not until the child has grown up and finally uses the number, before the crime is discovered. If the bill is passed, parents would be able to contact the three credit agencies that generate credit scores. The parents would then create a file for their child and freeze the credit. The legislation passed in the Senate last year, but was stalled in the House after an impasse on whether there would be a "freezing fee." Eventually, the House decided against a fee.

With the renewed interest in Internet crimes, people may be more sensitive than usual. Internet crime allegations can stem from simple misunderstandings and even from mere speculations. Internet crimes are serious charges and should be dealt with appropriately.

Source: Wjbf.com, "Bill to Protect SC Children From ID Theft Passes," Robert Kittle, March 20, 2014

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