Curbelo Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Curb Children's Identity Theft

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Washington, D.C., March 8, 2018 | Joanna Rodriguez (202-225-2778) | comments

Representative Carlos Curbelo (FL-26), South Florida’s only Member of the House Ways and Means Committee, introduced bipartisan legislation that will help prevent children’s identity from being stolen by a type of theft known as “synthetic ID fraud.” Original co-sponsors include Representatives Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-9), Kenny Marchant (TX-24), and Randy Hultgren (IL-14).

A recent study found that one in every ten children had their Social Security Number (SSN) used by someone else to fraudulently open bank or credit card accounts, negatively impacting a child’s credit before they even become adults. The Protecting Children from Identity Theft Act, which was also introduced by Senators Tim Scott (SC), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (LA), Claire McCaskill (MO), and Gary Peters (MI)  would combat this type of fraud by directing the Social Security Administration (SSA) to accept electronic signatures as consumer consent for financial institutions trying to verify customer ID, rooting out synthetic ID fraud.

“Unfortunately South Florida is all too familiar with the lengths at which fraudsters will go through to steal an identity,” Curbelo said. “But the fact that children’s identities and personal information are being exploited at such alarming rates cannot continue to go unaddressed. We need to ensure that fraud detection is modernized to stop these crimes from continuing to negatively impact American families. This legislation is an effective, bipartisan solution that would limit synthetic ID fraud and help protect millions of identities from being stolen.”

“No child should ever fall victim to financial crime or identity fraud. Targeting our kids and running up massive debts in their names is shameful and cowardly, and we must fight back to ensure they have the chance to build their own futures," said Sinema. "Our fix modernizes federal fraud detection to stop these criminals and protect Arizona kids by improving screening for financial transactions. Every Arizonan deserves financial peace of mind, which is why we’ll keep working across the aisle to pass this commonsense bill.”

“I have heard far too many stories about my constituents becoming victims of identity fraud. One story shared with me involved a family in the North Suburbs of Chicago. In this case, the Social Security Number of a 13-year-old child was used by a fraudster to open a credit card in an attempt to pay for a plastic surgery procedure. Crimes like these cost victims thousands if not millions of dollars and can remain an inconvenience for years,” said Hultgren. “I am especially concerned about children and recent immigrants, who do not have an established credit history, becoming victims of fraud. Our bipartisan legislation will help the government partner with the private sector to prevent identity theft from taking place.”

Data shows children’s identities are stolen at a rate of about 50 times more frequently than adults, and the information is utilized by identity thieves to apply for loans, utility accounts, property accounts, driver’s licenses, and vehicle registration. The long-term consequences can leave children and families burdened with unintended debt, and a flawed credit history.

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