Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into a law designed to protect senior citizens from identity theft.
Assembly Bill 2374, authored by Assembly Majority Whip Roger Hernandez, D-San Gabriel Valley, prevents identity theft among seniors by prohibiting credit bureau agencies from charging a senior for placing a "security freeze" on their credit report. Hernandez' 57th Assembly District includes the City of Industry.
California ranks third in the nation in reported identity theft, per capita. Unfortunately, senior citizens are often the targets of these predatory actions. A security freeze is a financial service designed to prevent identity theft by requiring a credit bureau agency to not share any information on a person’s credit report unless express authorization is granted by the consumer.
With a security freeze in place, identity thieves are barred from accessing information to open new credit accounts. However, many seniors live on a fixed income, making this financial service inaccessible. Further, since there are three major credit bureau agencies, three separate security freezes must be paid for creating additional economic hardships for our seniors.
AB 2374 effectively makes security freezes more accessible by prohibiting a credit bureau agency from charging a senior, 65 years of age or older, for placing an initial security freeze on their credit report. The law still allows the agency to charge a senior for lifting, removing, or replacing a security freeze.
“Consumer protections for senior citizens must not be undervalued," Hernandez said. "This newly signed law will provide relief to senior citizens by removing some of the fees associated with both fighting and preventing their identity theft.”
The law will take effect on January 1, 2013. For more information, please contact Vianey Núñez at (916) 319-2057.