Browse all articles

California Governor Signs Bill to Help Families Fight Identity Theft

Our kids deserve to be protected from identity theft and credit fraud.

Update: We're thrilled to report that on September 23, 2016, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1580, a bill from Assembly Members Mike Gatto (D) and Jacqui Irwin (D) that requires credit agencies freeze a child's credit upon request.


Thank you to our Kids Action advocates for taking action.


California is one signature away from helping families protect themselves and their kids from identity theft. 

As too many adults know, freezing credit is a crucial tool in the fight against identity theft and credit fraud. Unfortunately, kids -- who are particularly attractive targets for identity theft -- don't always have this option. Assembly Bill 1580, from Assemblymembers Mike Gatto (D) and Jacqui Irwin (D), would change that, requiring that credit agencies freeze a child's credit upon request.

California kids deserve this tool. Their sensitive information is widely available, both legally and through an ever-increasing number of hacks and data breaches. And children offer clean credit histories and unused Social Security numbers, with little likelihood of prompt discovery of the theft. In many cases, the crime is not discovered until decades later, when a young adult is unexpectedly denied a college loan or the opportunity to rent an apartment or lease a car. Allowing families to freeze kids' credit is a simple way to help California's young people start off adulthood on the right foot -- and not as victims struggling to overcome credit problems that began when they were in diapers.

AB 1580 passed with bipartisan support and not a single vote in opposition. It is now on the Governor Jerry Brown's desk, and he should sign it without delay.

At Common Sense Kids Action, we're working every day to make the world a better place for children and students. Join our efforts to make kids our nation's top priority -- become a Kids Action Advocate today!

Ariel Fox Johnson
Ariel Fox Johnson is Senior Counsel for Global Policy at Common Sense Media, where she advocates for smart practices, policies, and rules to help all kids thrive in today’s wired world. Her work focuses on enhancing family privacy rights, strengthening students' educational privacy, and promoting robust consumer protections in the online world. She frequently advises policymakers, industry, and tech experts, and has helped develop laws on student privacy, consumer privacy, and the Internet of Things. Ariel is a graduate of Harvard College and Law School. Prior to joining Common Sense, Ariel worked on privacy, media, intellectual property, and technology matters at corporate law firms, and provided pro bono assistance to nonprofits and asylum seekers.