US Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) introduced bipartisan legislation yesterday (March 5) and asked for its inclusion in the Senate Banking Committee's bill S.2155 (the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act). The legislation, known as the Protecting Children from Identity Theft Act, was written to prevent the theft of children's identity by means of synthetic ID fraud. This type of fraud consists of using a child's stolen Social Security number and falsified personal information. A file is falsely built up around this SS number, and once it has a good credit rating, it is used to apply for bank accounts, credit cards, loans, mortgages, or other financial opportunities that will never be repaid.

A report from the Senate provided most of the information used in this article.

Increase verification

The theft of children's Social Security numbers has become very profitable on the dark web and is considered the second biggest category of fraud committed. Senator Scott, along with cosponsors Senators Cassidy (R-LA), McCaskill (D-MO), and Peters (D-MI) agree that utilizing resources already available in the Social Security system could detect this kind of fraud. Synthetic ID fraud abuse affects 1.3 million children annually, and although it may not affect them today, it will have a big impact on them in their future. For this reason, the Senators sent a letter last month to Social Security Administration asking them to implement the use of an individual's consent electronically.

Protect our youngest victims

This would not only prevent this type of identity theft but would also help to weed out and combat those who commit synthetic identity fraud. Statistics showed that child ID theft is 51 times higher than the rate for adults in the same population. The youngest victims being five-months-old. Michigan, Florida, California, Maryland, and Nevada were shown to have the highest per capita rates of identity theft in 2017.

Senator Gary Peters stated this legislation can give lenders a tool to verify identities, put a stop to the estimated $6 billion annual loss from fraud and help give children a secure financial future.

Fine tuning S. 2155

Today (March 6), the Senate Banking Committee opened debate on the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act.

S.2155, authored by Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), is expected to be passed on a bipartisan vote. The bill's main purpose is to ease regulations for small financial institutions but it also includes bipartisan measures that will improve access to mortgage credit, consumer protections to real property retrofit loans, consumer protections, protecting veterans' credit, safeguards for victims of fraud and measures on housing. There will also be a number of minor bills that have already passed the House. The bill is scheduled for a cloture vote next Tuesday (March 13).