According to a study at Carnegie Mellon Cylab many children are becoming the victims of identity theft. Children are often easy targets for thieves because the theft can go unnoticed for many years. Often it is not until the child reaches adulthood and they apply for their first credit card or car loan is it discovered that their credit has been ruined. This is a huge problem and the credit reporting agencies do not help the issue, in fact, in my opinion, they aid the thieves.
If I wanted to see my credit report and determine if there are any fraudulent charges I simply need to visit https://www.annualcreditreport.com and I can have access to each of the three reports at no charge, once per year. But try to access your child's credit report, go ahead, try it... I can wait.
You will find, like I did that you cannot access the report online. They claim that they "do not knowingly maintain credit files on minor children". If this is the case, why are there credit cards issued to minor children and why is this information not being verified? Oh, I missed the 'knowingly" part... really? Is a killer less a killer because they did not "knowing" put bullets in the gun before they fired it?
So what now, assuming you are not lazy, and want to ensure that your kids are able to receive credit someday, you need to take proactive action and take that action sooner rather then later. In order to get the credit reports you must request them in writing from each of the three agencies. In order to do this you must:
- Write a letter of request,
- Include your name, address, phone number,
- A copy of your drivers license or other government issued identification with your current address,
- A copy of a current utility bill that shows your current address,
- Your child's full name, address, date of birth,
- A copy of your child's birth certificate,
- A copy of your child's social security card
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, Georgia 30374
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, Texas 75013
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834
Now sit back and wait for the magic of inconvenience, no technology, snail mail, and most likely 6-∞ weeks.
John "Mike" Wright