Adam Putnam Announces Legislation to Protect Children from Becoming Victims of Identity Theft

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam has announced legislation that would enable parents to protect their children from the growing crime of identity theft.

The legislation, introduced as SB 566 and HB 493, would require the nation’s three consumer reporting agencies to allow parents or guardians to open a credit record for their child and freeze it, preventing others from using that child’s personal information to open fraudulent accounts. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, and Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen, R-Fort Myers.

In a press release announcing the legislation, Putnam highlighted what he said was the growing problem of this crime: “Studies indicate that one out of every 10 children is a victim of identity theft. That means one of these children in front of you will be a victim."

“These children are going to have it tough enough without having a bad credit history,” Detert was quoted in the release.

Florida is only the second state in the nation to pursue such legislation. A similar bill passed last year in Maryland.

“There are all kinds of devious methods they are using to hurt Florida’s children,” Fitzenhagen is quoted. “We want to put a stop to it.”

The release also quotes Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Col. James Previtera as saying: “Identity theft can be just as devastating to a victim as an assault, and in many ways, it takes longer to recover."

“If we don’t protect a child financially, their futures are hampered," Jack Levine, a statewide child advocate and founder of 4Generations Institute, is also quoted. "This is one example of how we can do the right thing – protect and preserve each child’s future.”

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