New law aimed at stopping identity theft allows parents to freeze children’s credit

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They have credit cards and car loans and many of them are not even old enough to drive.

But there’s a catch -- they didn’t actually sign up for them.

Children are not off limits when it comes to identity theft.

"We've had kids who are under 16 who've had their identity stolen,” North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said.

The Attorney General’s office says it has seen thousands of these cases.

"These criminals are breaking into data storage areas. They are stealing it from retailers. They sometimes even go through people's trash,” Cooper said.

North Carolina House Bill 607, which went into effect Jan. 1, gives parents and guardians the ability to freeze the credit reports of all children under age 16.

Previously, credit bureaus have said they could not freeze reports for minors who had not established credit.

A security freeze blocks access to credit—preventing thieves from taking out a loan or getting a credit card under a child’s name.

To set up a protected security freeze, you will be asked to provide documentation proving who you are, who the child is and that you are the parent.

The information will need to be provided to each of the three nationwide credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion).

Visit the North Carolina Department of Justice website for more information on what’s required and how to lift the freeze when it’s necessary.