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Schumer bill would protect minors from identity thieves

WASHINGTON – Citing research showing that upwards of 400,000 American children per year fall victim to identity theft, Sen. Charles E. Schumer said Wednesday he plans to introduce legislation that would make it harder for criminals to steal – and cash in on – the identity of minors.

On a conference call with reporters, Schumer said those under the age of 18 are vulnerable because their clean credit histories are appealing to identity thieves. In addition, he said the credit histories of most minors are unmonitored.

Schumer’s legislation would change all that by automatically locking access to children’s credit accounts until and unless a credit agency confirms that a child’s parent or guardian wants it unlocked.

“Our second-graders should be worried about their spelling tests, not their credit scores,” said Schumer, D-N.Y. “That is why we need to make sure our youngest New Yorkers are protected from predatory identity thieves looking to steal their personal data and sink their credit before they even enter high school or college.”