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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: December 29, 2016 11:09 AM
From: Representative Michael H. Schlossberg
To: All House members
Subject: Reintroducing Credit Freeze for Minors
Identity theft is a serious matter that requires a combination of effective laws and enforcement of those laws. Currently, Pennsylvania law leaves minors exposed to identity theft as a child’s Social Security number can be used by thieves to apply for government benefits, open bank and credit card accounts, apply for a loan or utility service or rent a place to live. The Federal Trade Commission encourages parents and guardians to be check credit reports to see if a child’s information is being misused. Unfortunately, credit reports only show the identify theft after the fact. A security freeze can be used as a preventative measure to safeguard against identity theft in the first place.

In the near future, I will introduce legislation to give parents and guardians the ability to safeguard the identity of children in their care. Mirroring legislation recently enacted in Wisconsin, my legislation would change the Credit Reporting Agency Act to allow a representative to obtain a security freeze on behalf of a minor. This valuable tool prevents consumer reporting agencies from releasing credit information to a third party without prior express authorization from the consumer.

Current Pennsylvania law allows individuals to obtain a security freeze, but does not make provisions for parents or guardians to obtain a security freeze for a minor. My legislation would change that and give parents an important tool to protect a child’s identity, prevent identity thieves from victimizing families and better assist law enforcement in the effort to combat identity theft.

This proposal was introduced during the 2015-2016 legislative session as HB 452. The following members were co-sponsors: KORTZ, SCHWEYER, GRELL, FREEMAN, READSHAW, D. COSTA, V. BROWN, KINSEY, WHEATLEY, THOMAS, COHEN, BROWNLEE, CALTAGIRONE, MACKENZIE, MURT, FRANKEL and SAMUELSON.

Your consideration of this proposal is greatly appreciated. If you have any questions about either of these proposals, please contact Geoff Brace (gbrace@pahouse.net).

Introduced as HB494