As parents, we tend to not think about our child’s financial credit history. We tend to ignore the fact that our children have any credit history at all. Many parents don’t realize that their kid’s are also susceptible to the same kinds of hacking attempts and misuse that plague our own. Keeping your kid’s financial records secure and protected is just as important as ours. Since we often overlook our children’s credit records it has now become a prime target for criminals to exploit. If you have ever had an odd bill or notification directed towards your child you should take extra precautions to secure your child’s financial future. An alarming estimate by Experian is that 25% of kids will have some kind of identity theft or fraud before the age of 18!
Check your Child’s Credit Report Once A Year
Kids over the age of 13.
Checking your kid’s credit report if over the age of 13 is just as easy as checking your own. Just visit annualcreditreport.com and check their report. You should include this in your yearly check of our own credit reports for accuracy.
Kids Under the age of 13
If your child is under the age of 13 it is a bit more difficult to do but still very simple. You must directly contact the credit reporting companies.
- Childs Birth Certificate (Copy)
- Childs Social Security Card (Copy)
- Childs Legal Name
- Childs Birth Date
- Parents Drivers License or Gov ID with Current Address (Copy)
- Parents Utility Bill with Current Address (Copy)
Freeze Your Child’s Credit Reports
Freezing Credit is a great way to prevent accounts from being opened under your child’s name and ruining their credit. This will prevent anyone from opening new accounts in your kid’s name. Putting a freeze on your child’s account should not be an issue since most kids shouldn’t have an active history anyways. If, for any reason, you do need to open an account or there is a need for their history to be accessed you can easily unfreeze the credit reports. You can put a freeze in place by visiting the links below or calling the credit agencies directly.
What To Do If My Child Is A Victim Of Credit Or Identity Fraud
First Breath! While this is a very scary situation for your family to be in, time is on your side and chances are you can correct it before they even need to take out their first loan or access their credit. First, follow the steps above. Start by putting a freeze on your child’s account immediately then start monitoring. Then start below. This will help you get started. The depth of what to do if you find your child’s identity stolen is out of the scope of this article and I will try to cover it in more depth at a later time. For now, I’ve listed a few steps that can help you get a head start:
- Contact the Police Department
- Contact the Credit Reporting Agencies