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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > August 2016 > Ohio Consumers Gain New Law to Help Prevent Child ID Theft

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Ohio Consumers Gain New Law to Help Prevent Child ID Theft

Ohio families soon will have a new way to protect their children’s identities. On June 29, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed into law House Bill 317, which will allow parents or guardians to place a “freeze” on their child’s credit record. The law takes effect on Sept. 28, 2016.
“This law will provide Ohio families with a new way to protect children from identity theft,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. “It will allow parents to freeze their child’s credit record to stop identity thieves from opening accounts in the child’s name. I thank all those who made this new protection possible, including Representative Ron Maag, who sponsored the bill, the Ohio General Assembly, and Governor John Kasich.” 
Representative Maag worked with Attorney General DeWine’s Identity Theft Unit in the development of HB 317. Once effective, the law will require credit reporting agencies to both create and freeze a minor’s credit record upon the request of the child’s parent or guardian. The security freeze will help ensure that credit is not inappropriately granted in the minor’s name, reducing the potential for identity theft. The new law also will allow the same protections for consumers over the age 16 for whom a guardian or conservator has been appointed.  
In order to place a child security freeze, a parent or guardian 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 freeze will remain in effect unless it is lifted by the parent or by the child upon reaching the age of 16.
Currently, adults in Ohio already have the right to freeze their credit report. Typically, this is done by contacting each of the three major credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. 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 a security freeze is placed, the credit reporting agency will give the consumer a personal identification number (PIN) or password. Consumers must provide this PIN or password if they want to lift the freeze, either permanently or temporarily, such as when they’re shopping for credit and need potential creditors to view their credit history. In Ohio, a security freeze is permanent unless or until it is lifted. 
Adults who are concerned about identity theft but who don’t want a permanent freeze on their credit report may want to request an initial fraud alert, which lasts for only 90 days. The fraud alert helps prevent others from being able to open accounts in a consumer’s name and may be ideal for consumers whose information has been compromised in a data breach or whose information may have been accessed inappropriately. To place an initial fraud alert, contact any one of the three major credit reporting agencies, which in turn must contact the other two. 
If you believe you have been the victim of identity theft, contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at 800-282-0515 or The Attorney General’s Identity Theft Unit helps consumers clear fraudulent debt and recover from the effects of identity theft.