Effective as of January 1, 2016, a new bill will enable both parents and guardians to freeze the actual credit reports of every child under the age of 16. According to the NCDOJ (North Carolina Department of Justice), the main credit bureaus have stated that in the past they weren’t able to freeze the credit reports for any kid under 16 years of age without a record of established credit. But, the new law will now require them to generate and subsequently freeze the credit report of a child at the request of a parent or legal guardian.
By freezing the credit report, it will help stop identity thieves from accruing debt or opening accounts in the victim’s name. Although identity theft can affect literally anyone no matter what their age, parents now have the ability to protect their children’s credit even at such a young age.
Freezing Your Child’s Credit
Here are the steps you need to take in order freeze the credit report of your child:
• As a parent or guardian, you can request a freeze for your young child by going online, phone, or mail. For more information, go to www.ncdoj.gov/creditfreeze.
• Expect to pay around $5 for each major credit bureau in order to lift or place a freeze on your child’s credit.
• If your child has already been an identity theft victim or has an established credit report, the security freeze is cost-free.
• In order to either temporarily or permanently lift a security freeze, use the password or PIN used when you set up the freeze itself.
Keeping Your Children Safe
Experts warn parents of the multiple ways children can potentially be victims of identity theft today, especially due to the increasing widespread use of social media.
Children were and still are sometimes robbed of their lunch money or other valuables while interacting on the playground. Today, however, a child with a credit card is essentially a sitting duck in the water. Most children are completely unaware of the consequences of having a credit card stolen and are therefore generally not careful or protective of carrying one on their person.
Parents should also be keenly aware that any time their kids are taking part in a quiz online, there’s someone collecting every bit of their key information that they’re submitting. Afterwards, they use it to create a profile of all the likes and interests of your child, which may result in them wanting to hack even deeper into even more sensitive information. Therefore, every parent should ideally educate and teach their children about protecting their personal information in order to be as safe as possible.
Also, it’s crucial that parents are very wary of giving their kids a credit card if they’re too young. If the identity theft criminals can access their credit, it may also affect the finances of the parents as well.
If you stop and think about it, the parents themselves are at a high risk since a child under the age of 16 likely can’t even get their own personal credit card. It may sound okay at the time, but it’s actually not a good idea for such a young child to have access to or manage credit.
Child identity theft is rising and children need to know that safeguarding their credit card is comparable to protecting their smart phone and to never tell another person their password or other key sensitive information as well.
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