Any parent or guardian of a child knows the milestones that come with turning 16 – learning to drive, maybe dating, or thinking about college. But now, there’s one more: checking their credit report.
But my kids don’t have a credit card, house or car. Why should I check their credit report?
Because somebody else could be using your child’s personal information. Once a child’s – or anyone’s – Social Security number is stolen, it can be used by identity thieves. The thief might apply for car and mortgage loans, government benefits, credit cards, get a place to live and utilities, or even file taxes in your child’s name – and get a refund. Checking to see if your child has a credit history, and then thoroughly reviewing it when they turn 16, can help you spot signs of identity theft. If you find false or inaccurate information, you’ll have time to correct it before your child applies for a job, a loan for college or a car, or tries to get a credit card or a place to live.
How can I get a credit report for my child?
Contact each of the three credit bureaus online: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – and ask them to conduct a manual search to see if your child has a credit report. Each company will check for a report related to your child’s Social Security number. Generally, children won’t have credit reports – unless someone is using their information for fraud.
What if my child has a credit report with incorrect or false information?
Visit IdentityTheft.gov/child to report the problem and follow the steps outlined to resolve it. The website has information — and recovery plans — for more than 30 types of identity theft, including child identity theft.