COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is reminding Ohioans of the state’s new child credit freeze law, which took effect Wednesday.
“This law gives Ohio families a new way to protect their children from identity theft,” DeWine said. “It allows parents to ‘freeze’ their child’s credit record, which makes it harder for an imposter to open unauthorized accounts in the child’s name. We encourage parents and guardians to consider taking advantage of this new protection for their children.”
Under the new law, a parent or guardian can ask the credit reporting agencies to create and freeze a credit record in the child’s name The freeze restricts the credit reporting agencies from releasing information about the child, making it more difficult for an imposter to use the child’s personal information to be approved for credit, loans, or services in the child’s name.
To place a child security freeze, a parent should contact each of the credit reporting agencies. The major three agencies are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. The parent must provide proof of authority to act on behalf of the child, such as a birth certificate, and proof of identity for both the child and the adult.
The cost to place or to lift a security freeze may be up to $5 each per agency. For victims of identity theft, the fee may be waived. Once in place, the freeze will remain in effect unless it is lifted by the parent or by the child after reaching the age of 16.
In addition to the protections for children, the new law also applies to protected consumers over the age of 16 for whom a guardian or conservator has been appointed.
The legislation was sponsored by Rep. Ron Maag, who worked with DeWine’s Identity Theft Unit in its development.
DeWine created the Identity Theft Unit in 2012 to help victims recover from the effects of identity theft, such as credit reporting errors and fraudulently opened accounts. Since its creation, the Identity Theft Unit has received thousands of complaints and has helped victims clear over $1 million in fraudulent debt.
Victims of identity theft should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-282-0515 or www.OhioProtects.org for assistance.