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Freezing Your Child's Credit-Should You? And How?

If you’re among the Americans who decided to freeze their own credit, you might not have thought about freezing your child’s credit too. The law requires credit bureaus to offer this option to everyone, including children.

The New York Times recently took a look into freezing child’s credit files, in the article, “You Should Freeze Your Child’s Credit. It’s Not Hard. Here’s How.”

Because of a new federal law, free credit freezes are available to everyone. When you have a credit freeze with the major bureaus—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion—most companies can’t access your credit record, unless they’re already conducting business with you.

As a result, a criminal can’t get a credit card in your name because the card company won’t open the account, unless it can review your credit first.

Thieves can find a way to use your kids’ credit files for their own illegal purposes, and because most people don’t watch their children’s credit, thieves have more time to do their work. In addition, children usually don’t have black marks in their credit files yet—an attractive feature for the bad guys.

Many grown-ups aren’t keen with the hassle of having to temporarily thaw their credit files whenever they want to buy a car or take advantage of a sign-up bonus for a new card, however, this isn’t a problem for children. Therefore, their freezes are less problematic.

Look at each credit bureaus’ instructions on its website. The law typically requires companies to collect proof that you are who you say you are and that your child is really your child. This usually entails mailing them copies of some combination of your child’s birth certificate and Social Security card, and your driver’s license and Social Security card.

In a few weeks, you’ll get a letter confirming that the companies have frozen the files. There isn’t an electronic upload available for your documents, but you can fax them in.

The credit bureaus ask that you put the word “Freeze” on the address to help get the envelopes to the right designation. Use the phrase “Equifax Security Freeze” and “TransUnion Protected Consumer Freeze,” for example. They will still process the request if you don’t, but it may be helpful to speed things along.

Reference: The New York Times (December 28, 2018) “You Should Freeze Your Child’s Credit. It’s Not Hard. Here’s How”

Categories: Credit
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The Dorcey Law Firm, PLC - Fort Myers Attorney
Located at 10181 Six Mile Cypress Pkwy, Suite C, Fort Myers, FL 33966
Phone: (239) 330-6674
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