I have to admit I had not really thought much about my kids’ credit. I always thought that was something we would teach them more about as they became teenagers and started looking to get their first credit card. However, I learned something recently that has me thinking more about it and planning to take action to protect their future financial lives now, even though they are only ages five and one.
We frequently talk with our clients about the importance of freezing their credit to help protect them from identity theft. To learn more about what a credit freeze is, please see our blog post: Concerned about the Equifax data breach? Unfortunately, this is now a real concern for children as well. Kids are having their identities stolen, and in some cases, credit is being taken out under their social security numbers. Since kids are often not using their credit reports until they are almost adults, an identity theft problem may not be revealed until many years later.
Enter the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act of 2018, which now requires the 3 credit reporting agencies to provide free credit freezes to adults and children alike. Each credit bureau now has instructions on their website on how to freeze a minor’s credit. It does take more work than an online credit freeze for adults, in that they are currently requiring you to mail all of the necessary documentation to establish your and your child’s identity. As with the adult security freeze, you will want to make sure you do not lose the PIN for your child’s reports. They will need this later on when they go to access their credit.
Kim Butler, CFP®