We all know how devastating being the victim of fraud can be; that's why safeguarding your credit is so important. However, when protecting credit, most people only consider precautions for adults. Yet many victims of identity theft crimes are children. Why? Their credit typically goes unmonitored!
Since most children haven't yet established any credit history, criminals can fraudulently create a "clean credit slate" for themselves, which can go unnoticed for years. The good news is there are specific steps you can take to make sure the children in your life are protected. Here are a few things to do right away:
Freeze the child's credit. Freeze the child's credit by contacting each credit bureau (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion). In most cases, a child won't have an existing credit file, so the credit bureau will create one for you and then freeze it. Doing so may stop lenders from accessing the child's report when criminals apply for credit cards or loans. Freezing credit costs nothing, but you will need supporting documentation. Visit each credit bureau's website to download their specific forms and instructions.
Practice safety tips. Even if you freeze a minor's credit, all minors eventually become adults. So, it's essential to adopt these four habits to keep their personal information locked down:
Using the tips above can guarantee a child's credit will remain intact. As always, feel free to forward these tips to anyone who has children in their lives and could benefit from this valuable information.