Lara Presents Legislation to Protect Seniors from Identity Theft and Strengthen Consumer Protections

January 10, 2012

SACRAMENTO – In response to numerous complaints of identity theft received by the LA County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office and a recent LA Times article which highlighted the story of an 80 year-old woman whose address  was used as headquarters for an enterprise, Assembly Member Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) has introduced  AB 1325, an identity theft and consumer protection bill.

Specifically, AB 1325 prevents identity theft by requiring an applicant for a Fictitious Business Name Statement (FBN) to present proper identification when applying and clarifies the penalty for providing false identification, which is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $1,000.

“Deficiency in current law allows predators to commit fraud and prey on unsuspecting Californians, especially seniors.  It is imperative that we put the necessary administrative controls in place to provide all Californians with adequate consumer protections. AB 1325 will go a long way in protecting consumers throughout the state, “said Assembly Member Lara.

The state requires any person doing business for profit under a fictitious name to register a Fictitious Business Name Statement (FBN).  While current law criminalizes the act of providing false information on an FBN statement, existing law does not require an FBN applicant to provide proper identification, at the time of filling, in order verify the information submitted on the FBN form.

Over the years, the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County - Clerk’s Office has received several complaints from constituents claiming that their addresses are being fraudulently used as the primary place of business for a business they do not own.   In many cases, unsuspecting victims are made aware of the identity theft after receiving correspondence from entities such as the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) with tax information about the business(s) in their name. Some victims have even received packages containing goods or credit cards for the business registered with their address.

AB 1325 provides a simple, yet effective solution for preventing identity theft. The bill was heard in Assembly Business and Professions Committee today and passed with bipartisan support. AB 1325 will be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee next week.