Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Checking Our Girls' Credit Reports

The brunette twin received her first credit card application when she was about 18 months old.  I called American Express to decline the offer.  The customer service representative developed quite an attitude as she said, "We only take direction from the person who received the offer."  I patiently explained that the brunette twin was not of a legal age to make such decisions and suggested the customer service agent look at the recipient's birth date.

Needless to say, she apologized and promised to take the brunette twin off the mailing list.  Of course, she did say it as if she was doing me a great favor, but at least it was done.

I read a story the other day about how parents need to check their children's credit reports for identity theft.  The reporter noted that identity theft against children is on the rise because most of the time the parents don't check children's credit reports, so it goes on for years without anyone figuring it out.

Most of the time it's discovered when parents and their children are working on student loan applications for college or a first car loan application.  Even though it seems like it should be easy to resolve, it actually becomes a multi-year mess involving a lot of paperwork and police visits. 

I know two people who have been the victims of identity theft.  One was a student of mine who had a decade-long nightmare trying to clear his name.  Even after the person had been charged, he couldn't get his credit report cleared.  Of course, it was dragging on because the accused's lawyer kept continuing the case for lame, but legal reasons.  The only reason he could go to college is a relative agreed to co-sign his loan papers.  At one point the FBI considered changing his social security number.  It's a nightmare to put it mildly.

He referred me to the Identity Theft Resource Center where I found a helpful fact sheet about identity theft and children.  It's eye-opening to see how easy it is for some scumbag to steal your child's identity.

The story reminded me to put checking the girls' credit reports is on my to do list.  If you haven't thought about it before, you might want to consider putting it on your to do list for your children.


LauraC said...

I had my identity stolen in Chicago in 2001 and it was the BIGGEST PAIN EVER. I am super organized and it even frustrated me. First it took forever to file a police report bc the police did not believe me. Then I had to follow up with each fraud department with 20 different credit cards.

It would have been the easiest crime ever to solve. On one of the credit cards, they paid off their phone bill. They had a washer and dryer delivered. I could go on and go but every single year, I order our credit reports and go through them. Some of the stuff I have given up on trying to get fixed (previous address that is fake and would land you in the Chicago river if you tried to knock on the door).

But I never got my kids' credit reports so I will do that!

dcr said...

i just tried to check my kids' credit reports and was told (by two of the three big credit monitoring companies) that they don't have a credit report (and i can't get one) until after they're 18. i'll have to watch your blog for updates on how you do.