Protecting Our Children from Identity Theft
(Sacramento) - Legislation authored by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks) to protect children from identity theft is being implemented with help from State Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
Identity thieves seek out children’s untarnished personal records and use their personal information to take out credit and commit other types of fraud. Children’s identities can be exploited for years without notice because the crime is usually not discovered until a child reaches adulthood and pursues an apartment, a career, utilities, or other steps to financial autonomy that require a credit and background check.
Assemblymember Irwin’s Assembly Bill 1580 allows a parent, legal guardian or conservator to freeze the credit of a child under the age of 16. This is a significant step forward because credit bureaus do not typically shield a child’s credit record unless it has already been stolen.
AG Becerra has issued a guide to help parents protect their children under the age of 16 from being the victims of identity theft. The guide helps parents place a “security freeze” on credit records in their child’s name and is the strongest defense against certain types of identity theft. Previously available only to California adults, the freeze option is now extended to children under the age of 16 as the result of a law that took effect in 2017.
“As parents and guardians, it is our duty to protect our children. Today that includes safeguarding their personal information from identity thieves,” said Attorney General Becerra. “A security freeze can shield our children’s identities from being exploited by unscrupulous thieves. We must protect our children from identity theft today, so that it does not drastically disrupt their lives tomorrow.”
“We’ve seen with recent world-wide hacking incidents millions of names, addresses, birth dates, medical information, and social-security numbers stolen often from the most vulnerable members of our society, including from children and seniors,” said Assemblymember Irwin. “Parents now have one more tool to protect their children from identity theft and I’m incredibly thankful the Attorney General is issuing a consumer guide to make this process easier for the residents of California.”
Below are links to audio of Assemblymember Irwin and the entire news conference w/ AG Becerra and Craig Cheslog:
Opening remarks from Assemblymember Irwin at today news conference. (2:36)
Assemblymember Irwin says child identity theft is a growing concern. (:13)
Entire, unedited news conference. (23:47)