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Special section Child identity theft

A look at what some states are doing to fight against child identity theft.

State laws dealing with child identity theft

With child identity theft an increasing problem, representatives of collection and credit agencies, law enforcement officials and advocacy groups are urging lawmakers to create laws with stronger penalties for those who victimize children.

Victims, too, are calling for more action.

"In my opinion, the system has a major flaw in it, which allows the criminals to slip through the cracks," says Gabriel Jimenez, who was robbed of his identity when he was 12.

Jimenez has learned from his experience that two key issues must be addressed: police jurisdiction and the government's ability to help.

He also believes issuing temporary Social Security numbers to the victims for a longer period of time can help law enforcement track down individuals fraudulently using a child's information.

Quite a few state legislatures have heeded the call for tougher restrictions. The map below shows states that passed laws over the past three years designed to safeguard children from financial leeches. 

2003-2006 laws regarding identity theft and children
 State-by-state laws  
   

California
Chapter 387: Requires a county welfare department to request a consumer disclosure, pursuant to federal law, on behalf of a youth in a foster care placement in the county when the youth reaches his or her 16th birthday in order to ascertain whether the youth has been the victim of identity theft. If the consumer disclosure reveals any negative items, or evidence that identity theft has occurred, the bill would require the county welfare department to refer the youth to an approved organization that provides services to victims of identity theft. The bill requires the department to develop a list of approved organizations for this purpose, in consultation with the County Welfare Directors Association and others.

Florida
Chapter 32: Provides an exemption from public record requirements for the names, home addresses, telephone numbers, Social Security numbers and photographs of children who participate in government-sponsored recreation programs or camps. The names and locations of the schools attended by such children, and the names, home addresses, telephone numbers and Social Security numbers of the parents or guardians of such children provides for future review and repeal of the exemption.

Illinois
Public Act 94-0944: Amends the Code of Civil Procedure. Provides that a person who is convicted of identity theft, aggravated identity theft, felony or misdemeanor criminal sexual abuse when the victim of the offense, at the time of its commission, is under 18 years of age. Felony or misdemeanor sexual exploitation of a child, felony or misdemeanor indecent solicitation of a child, felony or misdemeanor indecent solicitation of an adult, or any other offense for which a person is required to register under the Sex Offender Registration Act in this state or any other state, who has not been pardoned, shall not be permitted to file a petition for a name change in the courts of Illinois.

Public Act 94-0043: Amends the Income Withholding for Support Act.  Provides that the court, at its discretion, may withhold the Social Security numbers of the child or children from being disclosed in the income withholding notice.

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 RESOURCES
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