SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) — California parents now have a new tool to protect kids from identity theft thanks to a new law just signed on Friday by Gov. Jerry Brown.
A credit freeze — or security freeze — is the best tool to protect anyone from financial id theft.
It prevents anyone from running a credit check or opening a credit account with your social security number.
For years, it has only been available for adults.
Studies show kids can be at even greater risk for id theft because they don’t yet have a credit history.
Since KPIX 5 began reporting on the topic, Equifax agreed to voluntarily allow child credit freezes.
But Experian and Trans Union still refuse to do so unless state law requires it or the child is already a victim.
California Assemblyman Mike Gatto introduced state legislation after reading a series of blog posts Julie Watts wrote about her years of reporting on child ID theft and struggling to freeze her own child’s credit.
Similar to laws in a couple dozen other states, it forces the bureaus to let California parents place a freeze before they’re kids are victimized.
“You know if California acted, that would be one-tenth of the population would have this protection and probably get a federal law on the same topic,” said Assemblyman Gatto.
Federal legislation was introduced but stalled over a year ago.
Since then, millions more kids have been compromised though massive hacks.
However, two of the three major credit bureaus still refuse to voluntarily allows parents to freeze their kids’ credit even though it is widely believed to be the single best tool to prevent financial ID theft.
Many are hopeful the California law will encourage the bureaus to voluntarily offer child credit freezes nationwide.
By the end of the year, parents in at least 24 states are expected to have the right to protect their kids from ID theft.