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Parents Can Freeze Child's Credit Under Md.'s New Child Identity Theft Law

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Chances are you know someone affected by identity theft. Now, the problem is rapidly growing among children.

Adam May reports Maryland is leading the way to protect your kid's credit.

A 7-year-old racked up thousands of dollars in debt after his Social Security number was stolen from his health care provider and an identity thief went on a shopping spree.

It's a problem most parents have never heard of.

Adam May: "Can you imagine if he had a card in name or something like that?"

Terry Stahl: "No, I hope not."

Adam May: "No secret credit cards, do you?"

Jacob Stahl: "Ah, no."

But 12-year-old Jacob Stahl might and not even know it.

An alarming study finds nearly one in 10 children have their Social Security numbers stolen. That's compared to one in 500 adults.

Maryland State Delegate Craig Zucker is behind a new state law that just went into effect designed to protect a child from identity theft.

"It will be the first time parents or guardians can proactively contact any of the three credit agencies and freeze their child or dependent information to protect against identity theft," Zucker said.

By freezing a child's credit, crooks are out of luck.

The law is a first of its kind in the nation.

Parents across Maryland are urged to take action.

"Knowing what people do these days, I will definitely consider freezing his credit," Terry Stahl said.

The law also applies to people who legal guardianship of incapacitated adults, so it could help seniors and those living with disabilities.

To freeze your child's credit under this new law, parents can make an online request to Equifax (click here), to Experian (click here) and TransUnion (click here).

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