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How to freeze your child’s credit report
Protect your minor from ID theft with a simple report freeze.
As a result of the rollback of the Dodd-Frank Act, you can now freeze your minor’s report for free to prevent accounts from being opened in their name before they’ve had a chance to build their credit.
If your child is younger than 16, you can ask the major credit bureaus to create a file for your child and then freeze it. If your child is older than 16 but younger than 18, they can request the freeze for themselves.
How to freeze a child’s credit report
To freeze your child’s credit report, you must submit a form and supporting documentation that includes copies of:
- Your government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license or passport.
- A utility bill, court document or other way to confirm your mailing address.
- Your child’s birth certificate.
- Your child’s Social Security card.
Each credit bureau lists accepted documentation to prove your identity, mailing address and authority to act on behalf of your child.
After you mail in your form and proof, the credit bureaus create a credit file under your child’s name first. They then freeze the report to prevent lenders, creditors and identity thieves from applying for credit cards, bank accounts or loans under your child’s name.
- Download and print the Minor Freeze Request Form.
- Gather the required documentation, including government-issued ID, proof that you’re the parent of your child and a copy of your child’s Social Security card and birth certificate.
- Complete your form and mail it with documentation to:
Equifax Security Freeze
PO Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 3034
- Print Experian’s freeze request page.
- Complete the form on behalf of your child, indicating any details as comments where indicated.
- Gather required documentation that includes your government-issued ID, your child’s birth certificate and Social Security card and a utility bill or other accepted way to confirm your mailing address.
- Mail the completed page and required documents to:
PO Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
- Write a letter requesting a protected consumer freeze for your child, indicating their full name.
- Gather and copy your child’s birth certificate or other accepted proof that you can act on behalf of your child.
- Gather and copy sufficient proof of documentation, such as your Social Security card, your birth certificate or your driver’s license.
- Mall your letter and supporting documentation to:
TransUnion Protected Consumer Freeze
PO Box 380
Woodlyn, PA 19094
How much does it cost to freeze my child’s credit report?
You won’t pay a fee to request a freeze of your child’s credit report, thanks to the repeal of the Dodd-Frank Act.
Can I unfreeze my child’s credit report?
Yes. All three credit bureaus allow you to unfreeze a credit file for free online for one to 30 days or more:
- Equifax. Call 800-685-1111 or sign in to your MyEquifax account.
- Experian. Call 888-397-3742 or use the PIN assigned to you to unlock the freeze online.
- TransUnion. Call 888-909-8872, create a TransUnion account or sign in to an existing one.
Should I freeze my child’s credit report?
Yes, if you’re worried about bad actors using your child’s Social Security number to open fraudulent credit accounts.
A few reasons to freeze early:
- Children are favored targets for identity theft. More than 1 million children were victim to identity fraud in 2018 alone.
- Fraud can go unnoticed for years. By the time you discover that someone has stolen your child’s identity, it can spell enormous damage to your child’s credit.
- Fixing your child’s credit report is expensive. Correcting the damage that results from child identity fraud can cost you more than $540 million.
- Data breaches are increasing. As the 2017 Equifax data breach showed, breaches are serious and unpredictable when it comes to identity theft.
Taking action for a freeze is entirely up to you, however, teaching your children about credit reports can help set them on the right financial path at an early age.
Monitor your minor’s credit score with these paid services
Freezing your child’s credit report is a free way to prevent thieves from assuming your child’s identity before they’ve had a chance to enter the credit market.
And if you’d like to take a deeper dive into how credit reports work, feel free to check out our guide.
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