How to Freeze Your Child’s Credit

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Freeze Child's Credit
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Hopefully you know by now that freezing your credit is the best way to protect your identity and finances from criminals, but did you know you could protect your minor child as well — even if they don’t have credit yet?

On money expert Clark Howard‘s advice, I put credit freezes in place for my two young children. It’s a little more complicated than freezing your own credit because it requires multiple documents and you have to do it through the mail, but it’s worth the effort.

In this article, I’ll walk you through the specific steps to freeze your kids’ credit with all three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

Why You Should Consider Freezing Your Kids’ Credit

According to a 2018 study, more than 1 million children were the victims of identity theft in 2017 alone (the most recent year for which statistics are available), resulting in total losses of $2.6 billion and more than $540 million in out-of-pocket costs to families.

As kids are increasingly exposed to the outside world through online activity, there’s no reason to think those numbers won’t continue to rise.

Clark says that placing a freeze on your minor child’s credit — even before they have an actual credit file — is the single most effective thing you can do to prevent your family from becoming victims of child ID theft.

How to Put a Credit Freeze in Place for a Child With All Three Credit Bureaus

Each of the three credit bureaus has slightly different requirements for freezing your child’s credit, but the general process is the same and applies to kids under the age of 16. In order to be totally effective, you must put credit freezes in place with all three major credit bureaus. Here’s how to do it.

Step One: Gather Your Documents and Make Copies

All three credit bureaus require you to mail them documents proving your identity and that of your child.

In order to request a freeze, you will need:

  • Three copies of your government issued ID (Passport, Driver’s Licence, etc)
  • One copy of a utility bill, bank or insurance statement, etc. in your name
  • Three copies of your child’s birth certificate
  • Three copies of your child’s Social Security card
  • If you are the child’s legal guardian (not birth parent), you will also need three copies of a court document naming you their legal guardian.

Here’s what each bureau asks you to submit:

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Credit BureauAddressDocuments RequiredLink to Request Form
ExperianExperian
PO Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
-One copy of your government issued identification card, such as a driver's license, state ID card, etc.
-One copy of a utility bill, bank or insurance statement, etc.
-One copy of the child's birth certificate
-One copy of the child's Social Security card
-If you are the child's legal guardian, a copy of the court document naming you as the guardian or other appropriate court appointed documents
-Request Form
Request Form

(Include address for the last two years on the form)
EquifaxEquifax Information Services LLC
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348
-One copy of your government issued identification card, such as a driver's license, state ID card, etc.
OR
-One copy of your Social Security card
OR
-One copy of your birth certificate
-One copy of the child's birth certificate
-One copy of the child's Social Security card
-If you are the child's legal guardian, a copy of the court document naming you as the guardian or other appropriate court appointed documents
-Request Form
Request Form
TransUnionTransUnion
P.O. Box 380
Woodlyn, PA 19094
-One copy of your government issued identification card, such as a driver's license, state ID card, etc.
OR
-One copy of your Social Security card
OR
-One offical copy of your birth certificate
-One official copy of the child's birth certificate
-One copy of the child's Social Security card
-If you are the child's legal guardian, a copy of the court document naming you as the guardian or other appropriate court appointed documents
-A written request to place a “protected consumer freeze” on the named individual’s file
No form. Must include a written request to place a “protected consumer freeze” on the named individual’s file

Click here for a printable version of this chart via Google Sheets.

Step Two: Print Off the Proper Forms

As you can see in the chart above, both Experian and Exquifax have forms you should print and fill out to facilitate your credit freeze request.

TransUnion does not offer such a form, but instead asks for a written request to place a “protected consumer freeze” on the named individual’s file. That should look like this:


[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[Your City, State, Zip Code]

[Date]

TransUnion
P.O. Box 380
Woodlyn, PA 19094

Dear Sir or Madam:

Please place a protected credit freeze on the account of minor child [Child’s Name].

I have enclosed the documents required to place the freeze as directed by your website.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Enclosures: [List what you are enclosing]


Step Three: Mail Everything Off

Finally, you need to mail the documents you’ve collected along with your request forms or letter to each credit bureau. In order to ensure that everything arrives safely, we recommend doing this via certified mail, return receipt requested.

The bureaus will alert you via mail when the freeze has been successfully placed.

Experian

Experian Security Freeze

P.O. Box 9554

Allen, TX 75013

Experian also accepts overnight mail at:

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Experian

701 Experian Parkway

Allen, TX 75013

Equifax

Equifax Information Services LLC

P.O. Box 105788

Atlanta, GA 30348

TransUnion

TransUnion

P.O. Box 380

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Woodlyn, PA 1909

Final Thought

In total, I spent right around two hours freezing my kids’ credit. The great thing is that you only have to do it once and it’s a small price to pay knowing that they’ll be better protected from identity theft from now into adulthood. On that note: If you haven’t already frozen your own credit, this would be a great time to do that, as well!

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