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Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s Bill to Protect Children From Identity Theft Sent to Governor’s Desk

Assemblyman Mike Gatto

Assemblyman Mike Gatto.

SACRAMENTO, CA – The California State Assembly gave the final approval on legislation by Assemblymembers Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) and Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks) to protect children from identity theft, by a 70-0 vote.  AB 1580 will allow parents to freeze their children’s credit with bureaus to prevent identity thieves from opening fraudulent credit accounts and ruining their credit scores.

“In an era where hackers have stolen millions of records including names, birth dates, and social-security numbers belonging to children, AB 1580 will give parents practical tools to protect their child’s financial future,” said Gatto, a member of the Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee.

Current law allows parents to freeze a child’s credit only after the child has become a victim of identity fraud.  However, because children don’t typically have accounts or check their FICO scores, the damage caused by identity thieves is often not discovered until years later, when a child applies for a student loan, a job, or a credit card.

“Children start out with a clean slate, which has made them the most sought-after target for cybercriminals.  In fact, a recent child-identity theft study found that 10.2% of the children in the study had someone else using their social-security number; a rate 51 times higher than adults in the same population sample,” said Cybersecurity Select Committee Chair Jacqui Irwin.

“California needs to protect its youngest citizens.  This change is long overdue,” said Gatto.

The legislation will now head to the Governor’s desk.

Mike Gatto is the Chairman of the Utilities & Commerce Committee and the longest-serving current member of the State Assembly.  He represents California’s 43rd Assembly District, which includes Los Angeles, Glendale, and Burbank. www.asm.ca.gov/gatto