What should I do if there is an error on a minor child’s credit report or evidence of identity theft?
If your child legitimately has a credit report and you find an error, you should dispute the error.
You may contact both the credit reporting company and the company that provided the information. You should explain what you think is wrong, why, and include copies of documents that support your dispute.
Credit reports are not established at a certain age. Children may have a credit report because they are listed as authorized users or joint account holders on an adult's account, or any time a credit account is reported by a lender for that individual. Or your child may have a report because he or she is a victim of identity theft.
If you believe your child or a child in your care is a victim of identity theft, you should contact each of the credit reporting companies listed below to explain that your child is a minor, and can't legally enter into any type of contract.
To prove that your child is a minor, send the credit reporting companies a completed copy of the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) with a letter requesting that they remove all accounts, account inquiries, and collection notices from the credit file associated with your child's name or personal information.
You can also request that the credit reporting companies place a one or 7-year fraud alert in the youth's file. This requires creditors to verify an identity before granting credit and makes it harder for a thief to open fraudulent new accounts. You only need to contact one of the three reporting companies to place an alert.
You can also request a credit freeze, which stops creditors from getting the youth’s credit report until you lift the freeze. Under federal law effective September 21, 2018, you may freeze and unfreeze your credit record for free at the three nationwide credit reporting companies –, , and . This law also provides protections related to credit records and identity theft for “protected consumers” under the age of 16 and incapacitated persons or persons for whom a guardian has been appointed. Persons with authority to act for these protected consumers can request a security freeze. To place a freeze, you must contact each of the nationwide credit reporting companies individually.
It may also be worthwhile to contact each business that reported a fraudulent charge on the report and request that they close the fraudulent account and flag it to show it resulted from child identity theft. You may also want to request that they send you a letter stating that the fraudulent charge has been removed.
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