> Bless Their Hearts Mom: 7 Ways to Protect Your Child’s Credit and Identity by Jim Akin
Tuesday, March 20, 2018

7 Ways to Protect Your Child’s Credit and Identity by Jim Akin

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this guest post free of charge,from Experian and the author, for review purposes on this blog, No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it.

Have you ever thought about Spring Cleaning and checking your CHILD"S credit report?

it's a good idea to check it regularly, especially with all the recent leaks onto the dark web! here's some great info from our friends at Experian!

cyber crime pix

According to the latest Data Breach report by the nonprofit Identity Theft Resource Center
(ITRC), the U.S. Federal Trade Commission fielded nearly 14,000 complaints of identity theft affecting children and teens (age 19 and under) in 2017, and there’s a good chance many more cases haven’t yet been detected.

Here’s how to check whether your child has a credit report, and what to do if you discover any bogus activity:

1. Report Any Crime Immediately

The FTC has established a website dedicated to identity-theft prevention and recovery, Identity Theft.gov. The site is a great resource on different types of identity theft, including child ID theft. It includes the form you should use to report what was done in your child’s name (scroll down to the “Special Forms of Identity Theft section and click “Child Identity Theft”). Upon completing the form, you’ll be issued a report that you can download, print out, and bring to local law enforcement agencies. Creditors may also ask you to submit a copy of the report along with other documentation of the identity theft.

If you have a family identity theft protection plan with Experian IdentityWorks, you also have
access to Membership Support staff who will help you determine the impact and walk you
through the process of restoring your child’s identity.

2. Contact Creditors If You’ve Received Any Communications Already

If you receive notice from a lender, merchant or collections agency pursuing unpaid debts in
your child’s name, you should get in touch with them immediately—before you seek your child’s credit report.

If you’ve heard from one bilked creditor, there’s a good chance there will be others, so follow up by checking your child’s credit reports for additional fraudulent accounts. Contact each by phone, and follow up by mail as described above, including the Minor’s Status Declaration and birth certificate.

credit card lock

3. Request Your Child’s Credit Report

Each of the three national credit bureaus has procedures in place for obtaining credit reports for minor children. Because underage children are involved (and to prevent criminals from
obtaining and misusing the information), documentation is required to prove who you are and that you are in fact the parent or legal guardian of the child in question.

Report Child Identity Theft to Experian

Experian provides a downloadable request form for purposes of reporting minor-child
identity theft. When submitting the completed form, you must also include the following:

Your credentials: 
- A copy of your driver’s license or another government-issued ID
- Proof of your address, such as a copy of a bank statement, utility bill, or insurance statement
- A list of any previous address(es) where you’ve resided in the past two years

Your child’s credentials:
- Your child’s date of birth
- A copy of their birth certificate
- Your child’s full name, including middle initial and any post-nominals (Jr., II, III, etc.)
- A copy of their Social Security card

Requests for your child’s credit reports can be submitted by mail or scanned and uploaded
digitally at:

4. Contact Creditors If Credit Report(s) Are Found

If your child has no credit report on file, the credit bureau will confirm that. If one or more
credit reports exist, each will list any loans or credit card accounts that have been opened using the child’s Social Security number, along with contact information (mailing address and phone number, if available) for each creditor.

Call each creditor, noting when you call and the name of each person with whom you speak.
Explain that the account holder is a minor whose identity has been stolen and ask for the
account to be closed. Follow up with a letter recapping the situation, and include a copy of your child’s birth certificate and a signed Uniform Minor’s Status Declaration obtained from The U.S. Federal Trade Commission. Ask the creditor to send you written confirmation that they haveclosed the accounts.

cyber lock screen

5. Apply Fraud Alerts and Credit Freezes If Necessary

If you’ve determined your child has a credit report, ask Experian to place a fraud alert on the
account. Experian will automatically notify the other two national credit bureaus to do the same. The alert will prevent any credit applications from being processed using the stolen identity for 90 days.

You may also want to consider having each of the national credit bureaus to place security
freezes on your child’s credit file. That will prevent the opening of any new accounts or
processing of any credit applications indefinitely, until you ask for the freeze to be removed. You obtain (and remove) a credit freeze from Experian here; from Equifax, and from

There may also be fees, which vary by state, associated with freezing and unfreezing your credit reports. Check out the state-by- state details on credit freezes here. Security freezes (both freezing and removing a freeze) are free for victims of identity theft.

It’s important to remember that reports will need to be unfrozen before your child applies for
credit, or submits an application that might require a credit check, such as applying for a job,
securing a cell phone contract or applying for an apartment rental.

Lifting a security freeze is not difficult, but a request may take a few days to process, so it should be done before any applications are submitted to avoid hitches in the process.

6. Follow up and Stay Vigilant

Keep track of the creditors’ confirmations that they’ve closed the accounts set up in your child’s name. If necessary, follow up by phone or mail to make sure you have proof each account has been closed. Keep all of that documentation, along with notes about each call and correspondence, in a secure spot.

Follow up with the credit bureaus to make sure they remove the bogus activity from your child’s credit report. The FTC recommends you check for credit reports for each child before they turn 16. Doing so allows you to correct any problems you discover before they start applying for student loans, submitting apartment-rental credit checks, etc.

calendar loan

7. Go the Extra Mile

Experian recommends going a step further. Even if your child has no credit report, continue to request one from each of the national bureaus once or even twice a year, to make sure none is created. Once you’ve assembled the necessary documentation, doing so takes only a few minutes.

Seeking reports for all your minor children will let you detect and respond quickly to any bogus activity in your child’s name, and will make the process of correcting the record simpler than it would be after years of unawareness.

Child identity theft is a malicious crime that often goes undetected far too long. As with other
childhood afflictions, prevention and early detection are the best courses. We hope your child is never a victim, but if thieves strike, you can contain and clean up the damage they do before lasting harm is done.

These tips originally appeared on the Experian blog.

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