Consequences of child identity theft
Children make a tempting target for identity thieves because theft of a child's identity may go undetected for years.
After their child is born, most parents apply for a Social Security number, which is all that's required to open most credit accounts. Yet it could be years until a child applies for credit in their own name. If a criminal uses it in the meantime, the identity theft can go undetected and create serious consequences:
- Identity theft could affect your child's future credit and employment history if the thieves (who sometimes turn out to be family members) obtain credit accounts or get jobs using your child’s identity.
- If the thieves are arrested for other crimes, those crimes could become associated with your child's record.
Signs of child identity theft
- Your child begins to receive suspicious mail, like pre-approved credit cards and other financial offers normally sent to adults, in their own name.
- You try to open a financial account for them but find one already exists, or the application is denied because of a poor credit history.
- A credit report already exists in their name. If the child has one, they may have been targeted already, since only an application for credit, a credit account, or a public record starts the compilation of a consumer credit file.
How do I check my child’s credit report?
Your child likely doesn’t have a credit report. But if they do have one, it may be a sign of identity theft.
If you suspect your child is a victim of identity theft, TransUnion can help. Please use our secure Child Identity Theft Inquiry Form to submit details about your concerns. We’ll use the information you provide to investigate the existence of a potential credit file in your child’s name. If you have questions about this form, you can call us at 800-916-8800.
Remember, you are initiating this communication with TransUnion, a trusted source of credit information. We will use this information only to conduct the search you request. We will not include this sensitive information in any return correspondence to you.
After our search is complete, we will respond to you at the email address you provide.
Add a protected consumer freeze for minors
If we locate a file in your child's name, we will ask you for additional information and documentation in order to add a protected consumer freeze to your child’s credit file. You can also add a protected consumer freeze for a minor even if we don’t find a file.
A protected consumer freeze is a credit freeze for a minor that a parent, guardian or person with a valid power of attorney can add to a minor’s credit file. It will remain in place until a parent or guardian requests its removal, or a minor can request its removal once they are 16 years of older.
You can learn more about protected consumer freezes and what documentation we need in order to add one to your child’s credit file on our Freeze FAQ page. Please note that to add a protected consumer freeze to your child’s credit file with Experian or Equifax, you’ll need to contact them directly.
The more promptly you respond to this request, the more quickly we can take action on your family's behalf.
More resources for child identity theft