Stolen Identities, Stolen Innocence: How to Prevent Child Identity Theft
By Tom Fragala, Truston
In July 2007, Barbara Whitaker of The New York Times told the story of Gabriel Jimenez. Jimenez lost his identity to thieves when he was 11 years old. Now 25, he’s still cleaning up the mess. His credit score may never recover.
If you’re a parent, you can…
Check your child’s credit report. The credit reporting agencies do not knowingly maintain credit files on children. A check of your child’s credit should turn up nothing until she turns 18 unless she is a victim of identity theft.
To obtain a credit report, you must contact the credit bureau through the mail by sending them your child’s:
- complete name
- date of birth
- a copy of your child’s birth certificate
- a copy of your child’s social security card
The parent also needs to send a copy of his or her own driver’s license or other government-issued proof of identity. Such proof must include a current residential address. Finally, parents must provide a current utility bill that also includes their home address.
Mail these items to the credit reporting bureaus at the addresses below. Note, we recommend using certified mail with receipt.
Equifax, P.O. Box 740256, Atlanta, Georgia 30374
Experian, P.O. Box 9532, Allen, Texas 75013
TransUnion, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834