How To Freeze Your Kids’ Credit

by | | Debt

You can and should freeze your kids’ credit. Here’s why and how.

Background

Minor children are targets for identity theft because no one monitors their credit. A fraudster could get loans in your kid’s name for years. Then your child applies for their first job or apartment, and gets denied.

There are three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Each one tracks your credit history and calculates a credit score.

When you apply for a loan, the lender pulls your credit report and score from at least one bureau. A bad guy can’t borrow a dime if his lender can’t pull your kids’ credit!

How To Freeze Your Kids’ Credit

Freezing your own credit is easy because you can do it online. Freezing your kids’ credit takes a bit more work, but it’s well worth it.

You must freeze each bureau separately, so you’ll do three freezes per child.

Fill out freeze request forms

Equifax and Experian have a form to fill out. TransUnion doesn’t have a form, but we created a fillable letter for you.

Fill out one copy per child for each bureau. Links below:

Gather identity documents

Make three copies per child of the following items:

  • Your driver’s license, Social Security card, and birth certificate.
  • Your child’s Social Security card and birth certificate.
  • Proof of your address, such as a utility bill.

Send copies, not originals.

Each bureau requires slightly different proof. The above list will satisfy all three bureaus, and it’s easier to send the same items to all three.

Submit requests

Mail the request form or letter to each bureau, along with a set of identity documents.

Send requests for multiple kids in the same envelope to each bureau. Still provide one set of ID documents per child. For example:

  • In one envelope to Equifax:
    • Johnny’s request form and a set of ID documents, stapled together.
    • Susie’s request form and a set of ID documents, stapled together.
  • Same thing for Experian and TransUnion.

You can use regular mail, or add a tracking number because you’re sending sensitive documents.

Save confirmations

You will receive confirmations in the mail, containing PINs that your kids will need to unfreeze their credit later.

If your kids are very young, you’ll need to keep track of those PINs for a long time! Make it easy by storing them in a password manager.

When Kids Freeze Their Own Credit

The age when kids freeze their own credit varies by bureau. As of this writing, here’s how it works:

  • Equifax:
  • Experian:
    • Parents freeze for kids 13 and under.
    • Kids 14-17 freeze using the above process that a parent would use for a kid 13 and under.
    • Kids 18+ freeze online.
  • TransUnion:
    • Parents freeze for kids 15 and under.
    • Kids 16-17 freeze by mail.
    • Kids 18+ freeze online.

Equifax and TransUnion provide FAQs with more info:

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