By Elizabeth Ingram | Vice President – Operations Insurance Trust

Federal law now allows adults to freeze their credit for free and allows parents to freeze the credit of their children who are under age 16 for free as well.  Being able to freeze a child’s credit is a new measure that is helping to make it harder for identity thieves to steal your child’s credit under the radar and helps your child maintain an empty credit history until they’re ready to start out in the world.  The Maine Credit Union League posted an article detailing more about this change here.

 

To Get Started

Go to https://www.identitytheft.gov/creditbureaucontacts.  You’ll need to contact each of the credit bureaus separately either online or by phone as an adult.  For a child, the credit bureaus require you to mail them your request.  Be prepared to put a little time into this and remember that the freeze won’t be instantaneous.  Specific directions and links to forms are below, but we recommend that you gather your child’s social security card, birth certificate, your proof of identity, a copy of a bill (as detailed below for Experian), and proof that you are an authorized representative of your child before you get started.

 

Equifax

(https://www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/): to freeze a child’s credit, you need to complete a paper form along with copies of your child’s social security card and birth certificate as well as proof of your identity (government ID, SS card, or birth certificate) and proof that you are the parent or authorized representative (minor’s birth certificate, court order, executed & valid power of attorney, or foster care certification).

 

Experian

(https://www.experian.com/freeze/form-minor-freeze.html): to freeze a child’s credit, you need to mail them a paper form with your child’s full name, SS number, date of birth, current mailing address and previous addresses for the past 2 years, your full name, SS number, date of birth, and current mailing address and previous addresses for the past 2 years.  You will also need to include copies of your child’s social security card and birth certificate as well as proof of your identity (government ID, SS card, or birth certificate), a copy of a utility bill, bank, or insurance statement that includes your name, current mailing address, and a recent date of issue.  If you are the child’s guardian, you need to supply a copy of the court document naming you as guardian as well.

 

Transunion

(https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze): to freeze a child’s credit, you need to mail them a written request to freeze the child’s credit; I recommend that you include the information requested by Equifax and Experian on their forms.  You will also need to send copies of your child’s social security card and birth certificate as well as proof of your identity (government ID, SS card, or birth certificate) and proof that you are the parent or authorized representative (minor’s birth certificate, court order, executed & valid power of attorney, or foster care certification).

Remember, do not send any original documents to the credit bureaus as they are unable to return materials.