Children have become a ripe target of identity thieves and with good reason. Armed with a Social Security number of a child, an identity thief can establish credit in the name of the child, abuse that credit with little chance that the child or his or her parents will become aware of the identity theft until the child reaches an age where they may be applying for financial aid for college or applying for a car loan. It is only then that the child and his or her family become aware that the child’s credit report has been corrupted which can create substantial problems for that child, not only in obtaining a loan, but in getting a job, insurance, renting an apartment, getting a loan or in the many other areas where a credit report is used. For adults, credit reports can be frozen such that even if someone has that person’s Social Security number and other identifying information, the person’s credit report cannot be accessed and used for fraudulent purposes, however except in a handful of states, the credit reports of children cannot be frozen. Now Indiana has joined this small number of states that permit the credit reports of children to be frozen. If your state does not have such a law, you should lobby your legislators to pass such legislation.
Freezing a credit report is one of the most effective ways to prevent identity theft. Unlike costly credit monitoring, which is often offered for free to victims of a data breach by the company whose data has been stolen, a credit freeze can actually stop forms of identity theft. Credit monitoring merely tells you after the fact that you have been a victim. It offers the same protection as someone who has just been hit by a truck while crossing the street and someone comes over to the victim lying in the road and informs him or her that he or she has been just been hit by a truck. For instructions as to how to put a credit freeze on your credit report, go to the archives of Scamicide at the top of this page and type in “credit freeze.”