Bill approved would help parents protect children from Equifax hack
SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin’s (D-Thousand Oaks) legislation AB 608, prohibiting credit reporting agencies from charging fees when parents or guardians freeze their children’s credit reports, is one step closer to becoming law.
“Agencies should not be collecting fees from parents who are cleaning up the mess Equifax made. Children’s future ability to buy a home, car, or get a loan to go to college is at stake,” said Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin. “Credit freezes are one of the few practical and effective responses everyone can take to protect against identity theft and credit fraud. With the Equifax data breach, it is even more important parents take this step to safeguard their children’s credit.”
This legislation builds upon Assemblymember Irwin’s previous enacted legislation (AB 1580, 2016), which authorizes parents and guardians to request credit freezes on behalf of their children. The need for that authority became clear as young adults discovered their personal information had been used by identity thieves to create fraudulent credit accounts while they were still minors. Before this new law, stealing a child’s information allowed years of havoc without the ability of an adult to monitor or respond. In light of the enormous Equifax data breach and the information learned during Assemblymember Irwin’s Joint Oversight Hearing on October 24th, freezing the credit of California’s children to safeguard their future must be a priority for every parent.
Economic barriers like fees to place, lift, or remove credit freezes should not be allowed in California when it is the most effective remedy to Equifax’s colossal failure to protect our personal information. This legislation will be one of the measures introduced in response to the Equifax breach, including SB 823 by Sen. Hill that prohibits these fees when a consumer freezes their own credit report.
Assemblymember Irwin introduced this legislation when the Legislature returned from their winter recess and it passed through the Assembly Banking and Finance Committee unanimously. It now heads to the floor of the Assembly.