Legislation sponsored by Assembly Members Joann Downey and Paul Moriarty authorizing a parent or legal guardian to place a security freeze on a child’s consumer report cleared the full Assembly 73-0 on Thursday.
The bill (A-1096) provides that a security freeze is to remain in place until the protected consumer’s parent or legal guardian requests that the security freeze be removed or the protected consumer reaches 18 years of age.
“To no fault of their own, children are some of the most vulnerable people among our population to fall victim to identity theft,” said Downey (D-Monmouth). “This bill will help ensure that identity thieves cannot reach our youth.”
A credit freeze restricts the access to a consumer’s credit report, which makes it more difficult for identity thieves to open new financial accounts in the consumer’s name. A credit freeze is the single most effective way to protect against fraud.
“When children turn 18, or when their parents or guardians want to help them take an important step towards adulthood and establish credit history, they should not have to discover that they, in fact, do have credit history and debt, established by someone else under their name,” said Moriarty (D-Camden/Gloucester). “This is merely a bill about fairness.”
According to a 2012 survey conducted by the Identity Theft Assistance Center and the Javelin Strategy & Research Group, 1 in 40 families with children under 18 had at least one child whose personal information was compromised. The study also found that children’s identities are those most likely to be stolen.
If passed, New Jersey would be the 30th state to establish such a law.