Image result for Check Your Kids Credit HistoryAs parents, we focus on our children’s safety, education, health and happiness but we overlook matters that can affect their financial future.  In this instance, we tend to overlook their finances by never checking their credit report.  For most children under the age of 18 there should not be a credit report with their information.  On the other hand, your teen may have credit because you authorized him or her as a user on your credit card.  But regardless of their age minors are not immune to identity theft or credit fraud.  Once criminals have stolen your child’s identity it is sold creating a new credit file with fake name and information.  Checking your child’ credit is important.  If your child receives bills or credit cards at your home they may be victim of identity theft.  If identity theft and credit fraud are not caught early it can hinder your child’s ability to get loans or a job.

Talk you your children about keeping their personal information safe.  Explain to them what can happen if someone gets their information and how it can affect them.  Tell them to avoid using their Social Security number on the internet.  If your child is older, be cautious of filling out forms for school, financial aid, and summer jobs or sports activities.  These can be situations where criminals can send you mail or visit your home to gain access to their information.

Protect Your Child’s Financial Future

If you noticed any red flags of identity theft there are steps you can take:

  • Visit https://identitytheft.gov/steps and scroll down to Special Forms of Identity Theft
  • Follow the instructions given by each of the three major credit reporting bureaus.
  • You will need your child’s name, address, date of birth, copy of birth certificate and Social Security card.  Also a copy of your government-issued identity card and current utility bill matching the address of your child.
  • If your child does not have a credit file that is good news, but if one exists you can freeze it.  Make sure to call the credit bureaus and place a fraud alert on the credit file.
  • Freezing their credit is proactive and make sure to keep checking their credit reports annually.