A new warning was issued to parents, saying it’s time to start protecting children from identity fraud.

A recent survey found 1 million kids were victims of identity theft in 2017. With a child’s social security number, experts warn thieves can easily open up credit card accounts.

Starting Sept. 21, 2018, a new federal law will offer you and your children more protection from identity theft.

You will be able to place a security freeze on your credit files at no charge and be able to do the same for your children.

Right now, all of the states have differing laws on security freezes. However, the new law will make it a uniform across all 50 states, free and optional for every age.

Identity theft will turn you life upside down.

“I was shocked,” said Heather Karpinsky.

What is often most devastating is that the damage is already done before it’s discovered.

“Nobody knows until that child at some point – 17, 18, 19 – applies for his or her first credit experience and finds out their credit is horrendous,” Cyberscout founder Adam Levin said. “The problem is going to continue.”

It happened to Heather Karpinsky’s 5-year-old son, Gavin.

“I got a letter that said ‘collection notice’ also to Gavin, and I thought,, ‘How could Gavin have a collection notice?’ And I opened it up, and it was a bill for a little over $180, and the following day, I got another letter in the mail that said his identity had been stolen by a computer hacker,” said Karpinsky.

A security freeze is arguably the most effective way to prevent identity theft. If thieves try to open a line of credit, they will not be able to because the file is frozen and only you have the pin to unfreeze it.

President Donald Trump’s signing of the “Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act” creates uniformity across the country, where starting Sept. 21, 2018, anyone can freeze and unfreeze their credit files with Experian, Equifax and TransUnion for free. Parents may also freeze their children’s files for free.

While nothing is foolproof, a security freeze is an excellent way to stop an identity theft before it starts.

To learn more about TTU K-12 you can visit depts.ttu.edu/k12/cybersafe/index.php