Sinema Bill to Shield Arizona Kids from Financial Criminals Passes Committee

Today, Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema’s (AZ-09) bill to protect Arizona children from identity theft passed out of the House Ways and Means Committee. The bipartisan bill now heads to the House floor.

Sinema worked across the aisle with Congressman Carlos Curbelo (FL-26) to introduce H.R. 5192, the Protecting Children from Identity Theft Act. This bill cracks down on so-called “synthetic identity theft,” a new and growing type of financial crime in which criminals use stolen Social Security Numbers with little or no credit history to open bank or credit card accounts under assumed names.

“Arizona families shouldn’t have to worry about kids being targets of financial fraud and identity theft,” said Congresswoman Sinema. “Financial criminals are using new tricks to steal children’s identities and we’re making sure Arizonans have the tools to fight back. We can stop identity thieves by strengthening ID verification for everyday financial activities. Our bill protects Arizona kids’ financial futures and gives families peace of mind.”

Synthetic identity theft targets children due to their lack of credit history and leaves victims with ruined credit and mountains of debt, often before they’ve graduated high school. In Arizona, a 17-year-old girl discovered a scammer had accumulated over $725,000 of debt in her name. Her information was linked to 8 suspects who opened 42 accounts including mortgages, auto loans, and credit cards.

The bill combats ID fraud targeting children by directing the Social Security Administration (SSA) to accept electronic signatures as “consumer consent” for financial institutions trying to verify customers’ identities. This ensures transactions not currently vetted by SSA, such as credit card applications, can be vetted quickly and accurately.