New law aims at child ID theft

State officials say one in every 10 children falls victim to identity theft, and local law enforcement fears that number will rise.  A measure making its way thru Tallahassee could help parents protect their children from this crime.

'Look both ways when crossing the street.'  'Don't talk to strangers.'  'Report bullies.'  

Now parents need to drill one more safety message into their children.

Tiffany Montano knows first-hand how thieves cross the line and prey on children.  The 25-year-old mother of two was just 15 when her family discovered someone had used her social security number to obtain a driver's license.

Now Montano is taking steps to protect the identities of three-year-old Nathan and three-month-old Eli.

She may soon have help.

Legislation is making its way through Florida's House and Senate that would enable parents to protect their children. According to Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Adam Putnam, " S.B. 566 enables parents or guardians to create and freeze credit records for their children, effectively blocking thieves from using it."

Hillsborough Sheriff's Cpl. Bruce Crumpler who heads up the economic crimes unit says the explosion of tax refund fraud has already triggered an increase in child ID theft.

So how do you protect your child from ID theft? Teach older children beginning in elementary school to hold tight to their personal information.

Unless it is mandatory don't list your child's SS number on paperwork including doctor's appointments and school forms. Guard your kid's identifying information the same way you would protect your own.

If S.B. 566 is enacted Florida will be the second state in the nation to pursue such legislation.  A similar bill passed last year in Maryland.

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