Freeze kids’ credit to guard against ID theft, AG Cooper urges NC parents

Freeze kids’ credit to guard against ID theft, AG Cooper urges NC parents

By / State News / الثلاثاء, 05 كانون2/يناير 2016 05:00

Starting January 1, parents will be able to use security freezes to protect children’s credit

RALEIGH, N.C. : December 29th, 2015 - Parents will soon have a new tool to help protect their children’s credit from fraud Attorney General Roy Cooper said today. North Carolina House Bill 607 takes effect January 1 and gives parents and guardians the ability to freeze the credit reports of all children under age 16.
“A security freeze locks down your credit report to keep identity thieves from opening accounts and racking up debts in your name,” Cooper said. “ID theft can strike victims of any age and now parents can protect their kids’ credit from the very beginning.”
In the past, the major credit bureaus have said that they could not freeze credit reports for minors who had not yet established any credit.
The new law requires credit bureaus to create and freeze a child’s credit report upon request of a parent or guardian. A security freeze or credit freeze is one of the best ways to keep criminals from being able to take out a loan or open a credit card in someone else’s name.
A freeze blocks access to credit unless you have given your permission, meaning that a criminal who has stolen your child’s identity will not be able to use it to open new accounts. How to get a security freeze for your children
Starting January 1:
• Request a security freeze for your child under age 16 by mail, by telephone, or online. Visit ncdoj.gov/creditfreeze for contact information.
• To lift a freeze permanently or temporarily, use the PIN or password established when setting up the freeze.
• It may cost up to $5 per credit bureau to place or lift a freeze on a child’s credit.
• A freeze is free if the child already has a credit report or has been a victim of identity theft.
Having a Protected Consumer security freeze in place prevents anyone from taking out credit in the child’s name. One of the most damaging forms of identity theft happens when criminals open a new account in someone else’s name, so having a security freeze is an important tool to help keep a child’s name and Social Security number from being used to open lines of credit.
To set up a Protected Consumer security freeze, you will be asked to provide documentation proving:
•  Who you are (a copy of your driver license, a utility bill showing your name and address, your SS card, or your SSN)
• Who the child is (a copy of the child’s SS card, or their SSN)
• That you are their parent (an official/certified copy of the child’s birth certificate)
You must provide this information to each of the three nationwide credit bureaus by mail.
Those are:
• Equifax: 800-685-1111
• Experian: 888-397-3742
• TransUnion:800-916-8800
Each credit bureau can charge a fee of $5.00 to establish a credit report in your child’s name and then place a Protected Consumer security freeze on it. The fee will be waived if:
• You can prove that your child has already been a victim of identity theft (police report, etc.)
• A credit report in your child’s name already exists (credit bureau will research this)
When the child reaches adulthood and is ready to begin establishing a credit history, the freeze can be removed using the same steps that were taken to establish it.
The credit bureaus can charge $5 to remove a Protected Consumer security freeze and must process the request within 30 days.
To provide ongoing protection against identity theft it is recommended that the young adult establish their own security freezes after their Protected Consumer security freezes are removed. These freezes can be temporarily removed (or “thawed”) within a matter of minutes when he or she is applying for a new line of credit. Security freezes for adults are free if they are administered online.
North Carolina adults can freeze their credit reports for free online with each of the three major credit bureaus, with information available at ncdoj.gov.  Once your credit is frozen, you can thaw it when needed to take out credit yourself.
You can get one free credit report each year from each of the three nationwide credit bureaus. To get your free report, go to www.annualcreditreport.com  or call 1-877-322-8228.  Under North Carolina law, credit monitoring services are required to tell you how you can get credit reports for free.
Your child's credit report
Check a child's credit report before they turn 16. You'll need to provide the following:
•  child's full name
• copy of birth certificate
• copy of social security card
• addresses for the past two years
• copy of the parent's driver's license
• copy of proof of residence for the parent, such as a utility bill
• guardians should include guardianship papers
Send or submit the information to each of the three major credit reporting bureaus.
To keep track of your credit during the year, request a free report from a different credit bureau every four months. You can also pay for additional copies of your credit report at any time.
For more tips on protecting your identity and cleaning up the damage ID theft can cause, visit ncdoj.gov or call 1-877-5-NO-SCAM toll-free within North Carolina.

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