Should You Freeze Your Child’s Credit? A How-To Guide and Why You May Want to Consider It

In Washington state, a family’s laptop was stolen from their home. Soon after, an identity thief started opening up fraudulent credit card accounts, including a Victoria’s Secret card using a 4-year-old’s identity.

This story is certainly not unique. Five percent of the identity theft victims in 2015 were under the age of 19, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

With child identity theft becoming increasingly more common, it’s important to know how to put a credit freeze on your child’s credit report.

A credit freeze, also called a security freeze, “lets you restrict access to your credit report, which in turn makes it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. That’s because most creditors need to see your credit report before they approve a new account. If they can’t see your file, they may not extend the credit,” according to a FAQ on the Federal Trade Commission website.

An established credit report would require having three or more credit items on their report, according to LibertyID’s lead restoration specialist Suzanne Ford who has been helping identity theft victims for nearly 35 years. Because a minor’s report is often unestablished, there is a different process you need to follow to initiate the freeze.

First, you need to provide these required documents for each of the credit reporting agencies:

  • Cover letter: Provide the details of the request, including all of your contact information.
  • Copy of the parent’s government-issued ID, i.e. your driver’s license.
  • Copy of a current utility bill indicating your name and address.
  • Copy of the minor’s birth certificate.
  • Copy of the minor’s Social Security card.
  • If your child was adopted, indicate this and provide a document of proof.

Here are the details regarding each credit reporting agency, including the direct phone numbers to speak to a representative, the fee, mailing address and some other helpful hints.   

One thing to note, instead of a freeze, TransUnion puts a block on the minor’s report until they’re age 18 and as of this writing, there’s no provision for lifting the block before the child turns 18.

Experian Security Freeze for a minor

  • No fee
  • Direct phone number to a representative: 800-232-8081
  • Delivery options:

— Upload option:

(PDF or TIF formats only in black and white only)

— Mail to: PO BOX 9554, Allen, TX 75013

— Certified Mail Only: 711 Experian PKWY, Allen, TX 75013

A “PIN” will be mailed to you for locking and unlocking the credit report going forward.

Equifax Security Freeze for a minor

  • No fee
  • Direct phone number to a representative: 800-203-7843
  • Delivery options:

— Fax: 888-826-0620

— Mail to: PO BOX 105788, Atlanta GA 30348-5788

A “PIN” will be mailed to you for locking and unlocking the credit report going forward.

TransUnion Security “Block” for a minor

  • Rather than a freeze, TransUnion only offers a block. There are no provisions for lifting the block before the child turns age 18.
  • No Fee
  • Direct phone number to a representative: 888-909-8872
  • Call first to obtain a “File Number”for the minor. Indicate the file number on the cover letter and mail with the required documents to the address referenced below.
  • Mail to: PO BOX 2000 Chester, PA 19016

Curious about some of the warning signs your child’s identity might have been stolen? Visit our blog to learn more.

If your child’s identity was stolen, who would you call? Subscribers who are covered by LibertyID rest easier knowing they have someone to call who can help them resolve the mess. Some estimates show it can take up to 200 hours to resolve identity theft. When you’re covered by LibertyID, a dedicated specialist handles everything for you and will restore your child’s identity.

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