U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., is leading the charge on Capitol Hill to protect children’s identities from fraudsters. 

Last week, Curbelo paired up with U.S. Reps. Randy Hultgren, R-Ill., Kenny Marchant, R-Tex., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., to unveil the “Protecting Children from Identity Theft Act.” The proposal empowers the Social Security Administration (SSA) to “accept electronic signatures as consumer consent for financial institutions trying to verify customer ID” with Curbelo and the other representatives insist will cut down on fraud. 

Curbelo’s office cited a study which found that almost one in ten children had their Social Security Number (SSN) stolen and used to open up bank accounts and credit cards which can hurt the child’s credit. Some studies show that children’s identities are stolen far more often than adults with some reports indicating that children are 50 times more likely to have their data stolen.

When he introduced the bill last week, Curbelo noted that this is an important issue in his South Florida district. 

“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 who has worked on privacy issues during her years in Congress, often pairing up with U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich. “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.”

There is a similar bill over in the Senate being backed by U.S. Sens. Tim Scott, R-SC, Bill Cassidy, R-La., Claire McCaskill (MO), and Gary Peters, D-Mich. 

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