(WTOL) - Did you know your child's credit can be stolen and ruined before they're even old enough to drive?
But there is good news, as a new Ohio law to help protect children from identity theft went into effect in the state Wednesday.
According to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, the new law gives parents the ability to freeze their child's credit record, or if they don't have credit yet, create credit and then freeze it. The goal is to stop thieves from pretending to be someone's child and do things like open accounts, or apply for loans or other services, in their name.
"What happens sometimes is a child's identity is stolen; they somehow get that child's social security number and the child many times does not realize it until they're 18 and they're trying to get credit of their own," said DeWine. "And someone checks it and boom, they've got bad credit."
DeWine says the new child credit freeze law gives families a new way to protect their children. The way to place a freeze on a child's credit is to contact each of the credit reporting agencies, the three major agencies being Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
DeWine says the cost to place or lift a security fee may be up to $5 each per agency. The fee may be waived for victims of identity theft.
If you, or your child, are a victim of identity theft, click here to be on your way to a recovery plan.
"It's so prevalent today, and with so much online, and, and so much data being stolen, I think it's something that we'll see increase and we'll see the number of children have their identity stolen increase as well," said DeWine.
Once the freeze is in place, it will remain in effect unless lifted by the parent or by the child after reaching the age of 16.