Can I Check My Childs Credit Report?

Our oldest is a senior in High School. Who has informed his mother and I that he is interested in joining the Coast Guard. Although we are proud of him, we are concerned for his safety and well-being. Although many of my sons friends will be going away to college, and experiencing a small taste of independence and responsibility, my son has chosen to jump right in and leave the nest. During conversations with my wife about our sons plans, it occurred to us to check our child’s credit report. Years earlier my younger sister had trouble with Identity Theft.

An Adult Decision

When my son told me of his interest in joining the Coast Guard, it wasn’t a complete surprise since we had had conversations about options for his future. My wife was a little apprehensive at first but she was willing to support our sons decision. We naturally worry if he will be ready to live on his own. My son seems to have a few reasons for joining the Coast Guard. Besides claiming his independence, and serving our country, he also would like to take advantage of the GI bill. Since he, still plans on attending college at a later date. It seems our son has thought this through and made some grown-up decisions.

Ready to Fly

Many of our sons friends will be going away to college and although they will be gaining some independence when they go away from their parents for a semester, They won’t be fully on their own. It’s almost like they will get a chance to try out the waters but get to come home in between semesters. Our son is jumping out of the nest with both feet and I have to admit it’s scary for us. The real world can be scary place The truth is, I know he’ll be OK. I think as parents, we naturally always worry about our children when they go off on their own.

We Worry

As many parents do, we’ve done many things over the years to prepare our son for adult life. We’ve taught him about money management, cooking, doing laundry, driving a car and any other number of things that we thought he needs to know for adult hood. But most recently, we’ve also felt the need to address with our son the need for internet and identity protection. Children today have never known life without the internet. It has always been part of the world they were born into. As such, they are very comfortable and capable of navigating it with what seems very little concern or fear for their own safety. My wife and I have explained the need for caution with our son when on the internet. We’ve gone over necessary steps to protect his personal information like his social security number. We’ve also done research and have tried to find internet protection for our family.

Bad Experience

Besides securing his personal information, we also went and checked for a credit report. We were happy to find that he had no credit report. Unfortunately, the idea to check for our sons credit history came from a bad experience that my younger sister went through. While applying for financial aid and loans for college, she discovered that her social security number had been used for a few years and had a variety of fake accounts in her name. Unfortunately, she had to put off going to college right away and begin to try to fix her damaged credit. It took her the better part of a year before she actually cleared up most of the damage. And for a few years after, little problems kept creeping up. We wanted to avoid this for our son.

Where to Go

Each of the big three credit reporting agencies has a different procedure for checking if your child has a credit report.

  • TransUnion offers an online form to help determine whether your child
    may be an identity theft victim. If the company finds a credit file on your
    child, it will seek more information from you.
  • Equifax instructs parents to contact its Minor Child Department in
    writing, and to provide copies of the child’s birth certificate and Social
    Security card, proof that you are the child’s parent or legal guardian, and a
    copy of your driver’s license or other government identification. Equifax says
    it will notify you and remove the child’s file if it exists.
  • Experian requires parents to mail in or digitally submit documentation if they want to
    know whether the company has a credit file on their child age 13 or younger.
    Experian provides a form for doing so. If a child does have a credit history, Griffin says, Experian will add a security alert to the file,
    include a note to say the child is a potential fraud victim, and freeze the
    at no cost. When the child is older, he or she can lift the freeze and
    have access to his or her report, Griffin says.


6 thoughts on “Can I Check My Childs Credit Report?”

  1. So this is very helpful, I don’t have children yet, but in the future, my bf and I plan on it… I came across this post and it reminded me of when I went to go set up an account with my mom. But I couldn’t because someone had taken my social security. This is good to know I will be checking my children’s social security. 

     This was similar to your sister’s experience but yours was more extreme. I’m glad to hear it got all figured out eventually. You said issues keep creeping up… is this very often? does she get notified if something happens on her social?

    • Thank you for the comment Christina.  Initially there where identity theft issues that would come up and would need to be addressed but as time went on this became less of an issue.  And yes she receives alerts when something doesn’t seem right.  Make sure you set up up any security alerts for yourself as well.   

  2. I have to be honest, I have never seen this question before, which makes it pretty brilliant. I think what makes it most brilliant is that it can be implemented in today’s society especially. Discipline is so 1950s unfortunately. But with this question we’re taking it back. I am all for checking the child’s credit report, great topic!

  3. Thank you for such an educational post Tom. I’m glad to learn this even though I’m not married nor have kids yet, I know now what to do and how to do it when the time comes. I loved that you were able to draw experience from your son and your sister to help us. I have never had issues with my credit but I think a friend of mine had issues of this sort when we were younger and it took a while before he was able to get it all sorted out. Thanks again for the post. Regards Tom

  4. Its a great post. Considering the kind of world we found ourselves where people do bizarre things, it is only logical to take preventive measures when it comes to our kids by making sure that their credit reports have not been tampered with. I have done a check for my kid’s credit report on two occasions to make sure they are on the safer side. I hope this post will help more people to take this as germane as possible. Thanks

  5. Great article, I’ve used both TransUnion and Equifax in the past and I can wholeheartedly recommend them both to anyone who wants to check their credit, whether their own or their children.  It would also come in handy if your child is looking to rent their first place.  You can’t be too careful, especially when it comes to the well being and security of your family. 

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