In the past, placing a credit freeze for a minor or a young adult that did not yet have a credit file, was difficult or impossible to do. Today, credit bureaus allow a credit freeze in both of these situations, in some states. To protect your child’s identity, visit the three major credit reporting companies at the links below. Be aware that not every state allows you to easily implement a credit freeze for a minor. Below is a list from the National Conference of State Legislatures on the states that allow a parent or guardian to freeze their child’s credit.
- New York
- South Carolina
Child identity theft is a startling problem because it’s often unnoticed for years. ID Analytics, an identity theft protection firm, estimates 140,000 minors may be at risk every year.
Why do thieves go after children’s identity? “Children’s credit reports are clean. That’s attractive to people who want to begin their financial lives anew for any number of reasons.” says Ron Lieber, from The New York Times. If you are a resident in one of these participating states, get information on freezing your child’s credit by visiting the 3 major credit bureaus websites.
As with a credit freeze for an adult, a credit freeze for children means that any new creditor trying to open an account in the child’s name won’t have access. It’s important to know freezes won’t stop every kind of theft. Thieves sometimes use children’s Social Security numbers to file fake tax returns and get illegitimate refunds, gain access to health care, and work legally even if they are not citizens. In each of those instances, there may never be a credit check that reveals the freeze, says Lieber.
Content prepared by Annie Albrecht, Worley Erhart-Graves Financial Advisors