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Program offers free children’s identity protection
The local effort to prevent child identity theft continues through a partnership between the Coalition for a Secure Driver’s License and the Sequim Boys & Girls Club.
A program called Keeping IDentities Safe for KIDS, allows parents/guardians to obtain Washington state ID cards for their children for free and prevent identity theft.
Brian Zimmer, president of Coalition for a Secure Driver’s License, said thieves steal children’s identities to purchase handguns, ring up thousands of dollars of debt, apply for loans and sell identities to stolen identity rings. Children and their families sometimes don’t find out about the theft until much later when they apply for a driver’s license or learner’s permit.
Children ages 1-day old to 18 years old can receive the IDs. Parents/guardians receive a voucher from the Department of Licensing for the ID they choose for their child to bring to the Sequim or Port Angeles clubs.
The coalition based the need for children to be identified on a 2008 Federal Trade Commission study that found about 20,500 identity theft complaints were filed on behalf of individuals under the age of 19.
Since starting the KIDS program locally in late 2009, more than 120 children in Sequim and Port Angeles have signed up for IDs with 60 of those coming in the past nine months.
Zimmer said they are satisfied with the numbers so far and plan to take the program to other Washington towns with Boys & Girls clubs.
“It’s not obvious to parents that this is something they should do especially in a rural community where people presume child safety,” Zimmer said. “It costs (parents) nothing but their time.”
Former Sequim resident and CSDL chairman Don Kendall recommended the program start through the Boys & Girls Clubs in Sequim and Port Angeles.
Mary Budke, executive director for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula, said signing up has three advantages — it helps preventing identity theft, it’s free and with an advanced ID children can go to Canada or Mexico without buying a passport.
Steps for free child ID
Step 1: Pick up a brochure at the Sequim Boys & Girls Club, 400 W. Fir St., or Port Angeles Boys & Girls Club, 2620 S. Francis St.
Step 2: Read and fill out the brochure. Parents/guardians and the child can obtain an ID card and/or enhanced ID card 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Fridays; 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Thursdays; and 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturdays at the Port Angeles Department of Licensing, 228 W. First St., Suite M, Port Angeles.
Step 3: Once the enrollment is completed, parents/guardians need to bring the child, the ID card or temporary ID card and the completed voucher to either of the Boys & Girls clubs. The voucher will be repaid through check.
Arrangements for transportation to the licensing department can be made through the Sequim Boys & Girls Club at 683-8095.
More information can be found at www.secure-license.org.