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New law helps protect children's identity and credit rating


MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) -- There is a new way to help protect your children’s identities. It’s called the Wisconsin Child Credit Protection Act.

Jerad Albracht is with the state’s Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection. He says children are often victims of identity theft, because crooks know they can usually get away with it until the child grows up.  “Parents don’t think to check or monitor their child’s credit report as they’re growing up, which means if an identity thief has used the social security number and opened a lines of credit in the child’s name, it could be 18 years or so before anyone detects that this has been going on.”

People taking out lines of credit in the name of a child happens more often than you might think, and Albrecht says the perpetrators are often in the victim’s family.  “It’s often someone who’s close to the child, not just someone out in the public. You have a mix of both, but I believe the studies show that the majority of the time, (the offenders) are people close to the child.”

Wisconsin’s new law allows families to protect the identities and the credit record of young children. Albrecht says by spending about $30.00 now, your children will be much safer when they are old enough to venture out on their own.  “A parent or legal guardian of the child can contact the three major credit bureaus, and for about $10.00 a bureau, they can have them create a credit record for the child, because again, it should be that the child doesn’t have one to begin with. They can create and freeze that record until the child is 16, which basically means that no one is going to be able to pull any sort of credit line using that child’s information.”

A child growing into a young adult may not even know about the dangers. If someone damaged their credit report, it could affect their ability to get a job, obtain student loans, or even buy a car.

The parent or guardian requesting the credit report and freeze on their children’s identity will have to show documentation proving their relationship to the kids. More information is available online at Wisconsin.gov or directly through the department’s website.

The Consumer Information Telephone Hotline toll-free at 1-800-422-7128.