Thanks to the new Consumer Protection Act, you can now freeze your kids’ credit (and your own) for free in all 50 states! And… you can request the freeze by phone or online WITHOUT putting sensitive information the mail!
Below, you’ll find a summary of our Child Credit Freeze investigation along with links and a Step-By-Step Guide to Freeze Your Child’s Credit.
We recently discovered some of the bureaus may be requiring you mail in sensitive documents despite laws intended to prevent that. We are investigating and hope to provide an alternative soon. Please check back for an update. In the meantime, we do not recommend mailing in the required documents.
The Back Story:
As a Consumer-Investigative reporter, I’ve covered child ID theft for years. So, when I became a mom I immediately set out to freeze my own toddler’s credit. What I discovered led to a year-long series of editorial blogs that ultimately prompted a new state law and a series of consumer reports.
It may have taken a few years (and a few dozen massive hacks), but lawmakers finally listened and now every parent has the tools to help protect their child from ID theft.
From medical records to insurance databases to school district computers, hackers are increasingly gaining access to our kids’ sensitive data. Research shows that kids could be 50 times more likely to have their identities stolen than adults, in part, because kids’ pristine credit records provide a blank slate for thieves and often go unchecked for more than 18 years.
A credit freeze is widely believed to be the single best tool to prevent financial ID theft. However, for years, the credit bureaus have refused to let parents freeze their kids’ credit unless they lived in a state where lawmakers had passed a law that forced the bureaus to allow child credit freezes.
In “Why My Toddler Has a Credit Card,” I revealed a loophole I discovered that allowed me to freeze my daughter’s credit even though we lived in a state without a child credit freeze law.
However, I quickly discovered that the credit bureaus themselves were putting the identities of both parents and children at risk by using antiquated security protocols. Among other things, they required I mail sensitive documents to a PO box!
In “How I Forced the Bureaus to Freeze My Child’s Credit,” I outlined the security risks, provided alternative and detailed the 6-month effort to encourage changes.
Citing this continuing coverage, California Assemblyman Mike Gatto introduced the child credit freeze legislation AB 1580 that, for the first time, would give California parents the right to freeze their child’s credit before they were victimized. It unanimously passed the state senate and assembly and was signed by the governor in 2016.
Now all parents can freeze their kids’ credit (and their own) for free! You can also request the freeze by phone or online WITHOUT being forced to put sensitive information the mail!
For tips on how to freeze your kid’s credit, check out our 2016 “Step-By-Step Guide to Freeze Your Child’s Credit.”
It includes a detailed summary of hard-to-find contact information, tips and sample documents specific to each bureau, along with a candid description of the hurdles and security concerns you may encounter along the way.
We’ll be updating the guide shortly with a revised “how-to” following the implementation of the federal law. In the mean time, reach out to me if you have any trouble freezing your kid’s credit.
(And remember, DON’T put your social security number or other sensitive info in the mail!)