Fla. works to protect kids from ID theft

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida could soon become the second state in the nation to protect kids from identity theft.

State lawmakers and law enforcement are working together to end a potentially devastating crime that's sweeping the nation.

"It's been called the crime of the 21st century already," Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford said.

More than 10,000 Florida kids fall victim to ID theft every year.

"It is particularly explosive growth in children when you steal a child's identity because you can manipulate their credit and benefit from it for a much longer period of time before it is discovered," said Adam Putnam, commissioner of the Florida Department of Agriculture.

The law would give parents the ability to call one of three credit monitoring agencies and freeze their child's credit.

Not only is the bill designed to protect tens of thousands of children yearly, it's also estimated to save the state more than $21 million every year.

"Protect the valuable information about your child, protect their Social Security numbers, don't let social media reveal too many aspects about their lives," Putnam said.

Rutherford said it's important to put more resources into fighting identity theft.

"Preventing the crime before it occurs and protecting children before they are victimized," he said.

Maryland was the first state to pass a similar law last year.

Florida authorities say if this becomes law, the state says it will be a leader in protecting youth.