How to check your child's credit report

The presence of one could signal identity theft

How to check your child's credit report

Parents place the utmost attention on their children’s safety, education, health and happiness, but even the most conscientious parent may overlook another matter that can affect their child's future: the child’s credit report.

With some exceptions, most children under age 18 should not have a credit report at all. Minors, however, are not immune to identity theft and credit fraud. So you need to see if your youngster has a credit report – and you need to know what is on it.

“Ideally, and in the vast majority of instances, your child would not have a credit report,” says Rod Griffin, director of public education for credit reporting agency Experian. “It’s a good idea for a parent to check.”

Checking is especially important if you suspect your young child is the victim of identity theft. Teens also should check for credit reports in their names if they suspect someone may be using their identity and Social Security number to open fraudulent accounts.

Unless identity theft and credit fraud are caught and corrected, they can hinder a child’s ability to get loans, jobs or housing once they reach adulthood.

Protect your child’s financial future

In some cases, a child might legitimately have a credit report. For example, a teen might have one if a parent authorized him as a user on a credit card.

In most other cases, however, the existence of a credit report tied to a child is a sign of nefarious activity. Identity thieves can use a child’s Social Security number to open credit card accounts, apply for loans or government benefits or rent an apartment, the Federal Trade Commission notes.

“It’s a good idea to check whether your child has a credit report close to the child’s 16th birthday. If there is one – and it has errors due to fraud or misuse – you will have time to correct it before the child applies for a job, a loan for tuition or a car, or needs to rent an apartment,” the FTC says on its website.

Tip

Talk to your children about keeping their information safe: The Identity Theft Resource Center says you should tell your children they should try to avoid using their Social Security number, especially on the internet or when applying for financial aid or summer jobs. Parents and college-age kids should keep all sensitive information locked in a secure place, use a locked mailbox to send and recieve mail, and take precautions when filling our forms for school and sports activities.

Do not delay if you see signs that credit thieves already have established a report in your child’s name.

The Identity Theft Resource Center cites several warning flags, including:

  • Calls from collection agencies, bills or credit cards sent to your home in your child’s name.
  • A child receiving preapproved credit card applications, or government notices related to taxes, benefits or even traffic violations.
  • A child having a bank account application denied because of poor credit history.
  • The mere existence of a credit report in the child’s name.

How to find a child’s credit status

The three national credit-reporting companies – TransUnion, Equifax and Experian – do not knowingly keep data on children younger than 13, according to AnnualCreditReport.com.

That website – which is the official website where you can get free access to your credit reports – outlines steps to take if you suspect fraud involving your child’s identity. Such steps include alerting all three credit reporting agencies, filing a police report and filing a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. You also can file a complaint with the FTC. You can also call the Identity Theft Resource Center at 800-400-5530.

Ideally, and in the vast majority of instances, your child would not have a credit report. However, if you suspect fraud, you need to take some specific steps.

For example, each of the bureaus provides specific directions for requesting a minor child’s credit report. Making a request is the first step in clearing the record if an inaccurate or fraudulent file exists.

For more information, review our step-by-step instructions for requesting a child’s credit report from each bureau. Otherwise, below is a summary of the rules for the three credit bureau:

  • 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 file 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.

Select your state below to view its credit freeze laws:

Alabama

Statute or CitationAlabama Code Title 8. Commercial Law and Consumer Protection § 8-35-2
Who can requestAll consumers
FeesNo fees for victims of identity theft. No fees for placing a credit freeze to consumers 65 years or over. For everyone else, credit bureaus may charge up to $10 per credit freeze and up to $10 to temporarily or permanently remove each credit freeze.
How to place a freezeYou must make request in writing by certified mail and send to the three credit reporting agencies. To prove identity theft, submit copy of police report.
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer.



Alaska

Statute or CitationAlaska Stat. §45.48.100 et seq.
Who can requestAny consumer and a parent, legal guardian, or conservator of a minor, incapacitated person, or protected person
FeesNo charge for victims of identity theft.
How to place a freezeYou can make request to each of the three credit reporting agencies via mail or other means if the credit reporting agency offers other methods to request the freeze.
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer.



Arizona

Statute or CitationAriz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §44-1698
Who can request Any consumer, including a guardian of anyone under 16 years of age at the time a request, anyone who is incapacitated or a protected person for whom a guardian or conservator has been appointed.
FeesNo charge for identity theft victims. Others may be charged up to $5 per credit freeze and up to $5 to temporarily or permanently remove each credit freeze.
How to place a freezeYou can make a request to each of the three credit reporting agencies in writing or via other forms offered by the credit reporting agency.
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer.



Arkansas

Statute or CitationArk. Stat. Ann. §4-112-101 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers
FeesUp to $5 to place the freeze, up to $5 to lift it temporarily, or up to $5 to remove it altogether. 
How to place a freezeYou may send a request to each credit reporting agency via writing by mail, by telephone or email if that option is available by the credit reporting agency.
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer.



California

Statute or CitationCal. Civil Code §1785.11.2 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers, including a representative of someone who is under 16 years of age at the time of the request, an incapacitated person or a protected person for whom a guardian has been appointed, or a person under the jurisdiction of a county welfare department, county probation department or foster care and is under 16 years of age at the time of the request.
FeesNo fee for identity theft victims. All others pay $10 to place, temporarily lift or remove the freeze. No fee for consumers 65 and older to place initial freeze; up to $5 for consumers 65 and over to temporarily or permanently remove freeze.
How to place a freezeYou must write to each of the three credit bureaus. If you are an identity theft victim, provide a copy of your police report (or DMV investigative report) of identity theft.
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer.



Colorado

Statute or CitationColo. Rev. Stat. §12-14.3-101 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers
FeesNo fees for victims of identity theft. No fee for the first freeze; up to $10 to lift the freeze temporarily, or to remove it altogether. Up to $12 to temporarily lift the freeze for a specific creditor. $10 to place a second freeze. 
How to place a freezeYou must write to each of the three credit bureaus and send it by certified mail. If you’re a victim of identity theft, submit a copy of a police report.
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer.



Connecticut

Statute or CitationConn. Gen. Stat. §36a-701 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers, including a parent of legal guardian of a child under the age of 16 at the time of the request
FeesNo fee for victims of identity theft. $10 to place the freeze, $10 to lift it temporarily, $10 to remove it altogether; $12 to lift it temporarily for a specific creditor. 
How to place a freezeYou must write to each of the three credit bureaus and send by certified mail or another secured method as instructed by the credit bureau. 
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer.



Delaware

Statute or CitationDel. Code Ann. tit. 6, §2201 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers, including a representative of a consumer who is under the age of 16 years at the time a request or an incapacitated person or a protected person for whom a guardian or conservator has been appointed.
FeesNo fee for identity theft victims. All others pay $10 to place the freeze, but no fees to lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether. Consumers 65 or older can pay up to $5 for initial freeze.
How to place a freezeYou must write or email each of the three credit bureaus. If you are a victim of identity theft, submit a valid investigative or incident report or complaint with law enforcement.
How long?Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer. 



District of Columbia

Statute or CitationD.C. Code Ann. §28-3861 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers
FeesNo fees for identity theft victims. All others pay $10 to place the freeze, but no fees to lift it temporarily or remove it altogether. 
How to place a freezeYou must write to each of the three credit bureaus and send via certified mail. Though the law does not state whether identity theft victims must have proof of their status as victims, the consumer reporting agencies will likely require proof of a police report, investigative report or some similar report identifying yourself as a victim. 
How long?Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer. 



Florida

Statute or CitationFla. Stat. §501.005 and §501.0051
Who can requestAll consumers, including a representative of a person younger than 16 years of age at the time a security freeze request is made or a person represented by a guardian or other advocate.
FeesNo fees for identity theft victims and seniors 65 years and older. All others pay $10 to place the freeze, $10 to lift it temporarily, and $10 to remove it altogether. Seniors 65 and older must pay $10 for subsequent freezes and removals. 
How to place a freezeYou must request it in writing by certified mail to each of the three credit bureaus. A copy of your police report, investigative report or a complaint to a law enforcement agency concerning identity theft must be provided to show that you are a victim of identity theft. 
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer. 



Georgia

Statute or CitationGa. Code §10-1-913 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers, including a representative of an individual who is under the age of 16 years at the time a request is made or an individual for whom a guardian or conservator has been appointed.
FeesNo fees for identity theft victims and seniors 65 years and older. All others pay up to $3 to place the freeze, $3 to lift it temporarily, and $3 to remove it altogether.
How to place a freezeYou can request it in writing via certified mail or send a request via email or telephone.
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer. 



Hawaii

Statute or CitationHawaii Rev. Stat. §489P-1 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers, including a representative of an individual who is under the age of 16 at the time a request or a person who is incapacitated or for whom a court or other authority has appointed a guardian or conservator.
FeesNo fees for identity theft victims. All others pay $5 to place the freeze, $5 to lift it temporarily, and $5 to remove it altogether. 
How to place a freezeTo place a freeze, you must write to each of the three credit bureaus. To prove you are a victim of identity theft (and to avoid the fees) you must send a copy of a report of alleged identity fraud to each of the credit bureaus. 
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer. 



Idaho

Statute or CitationIdaho Code §28-52-101 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers
FeesNo fees for identity theft victims. All others pay up to $6 to place the freeze, $6 to lift it temporarily, and no charge to remove it altogether. 
How to place a freezeYou must write to each of the three credit bureaus. To prove you are a victim of identity theft (and to avoid the fees) you must send a copy of a police report or complaint filed with a law enforcement agency.
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer. 



Illinois

Statute or CitationIll. Rev. Stat. ch. 815, §505/2MM
Who can requestAll consumers, including a representative on behalf of a disabled person or on behalf of a minor if they are the parent or guardian.
FeesNo fees for identity theft victims with police reports, seniors 65 years and older, and active duty military service members. All others pay a $10 fee to place the freeze, $10 to lift it temporarily, and $10 to remove it altogether. 
How to place a freezeTo place a freeze, you must write to each of the three credit bureaus. A copy of your police report, investigative report or a complaint to a law enforcement agency concerning identity theft must be provided to show that you are a victim of identity theft. 
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer. 



Indiana

Statute or CitationInd. Code §24-5-24-1 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers, including a representative of an individual who is less than 16 years of age, or is an incapacitated person.
FeesNo fee to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether. 
How to place a freezeTo place a freeze, you must write by mail to each of the three credit bureaus or send a secure email.
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer. 



Iowa

Statute or CitationIowa Code §714G.1 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers, including a representative of an individual who is either under 16 years of age at the time a request or is an incapacitated person or a protected person for whom a guardian or conservator has been appointed.
FeesNo fees for identity theft victims. All others pay $10 to place the freeze, $12 to lift it temporarily, and $10 to remove it altogether. 
How to place a freezeYou must send a written request to each of the three credit bureaus by certified mail. A copy of a police report must be submitted to prove you were the victim of identity theft.
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer. 



Kansas

Statute or CitationKan. Stat. Ann. §50-701 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers, including a representative of an individual who is under the age of 16 years at the time of the request or an individual for whom a guardian or conservator has been appointed.
FeesNo fees for identity theft victims. All others pay no more than $5 to place the freeze, $5 to lift it temporarily, and $5 to remove it altogether. 
How to place a freezeTo place a freeze, you must write to each of the three credit bureaus, or submit the request via phone or secure web site. A copy of your police report, investigative report or a complaint to a law enforcement agency concerning identity theft must be provided to show that you are a victim of identity theft. 
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by customer. 



Kentucky

Statute or CitationKy. Rev. Stat. §367.363 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers, including a representative of an individual who is under the age of 16 years at the time of the request or an individual for whom a guardian or conservator has been appointed.
FeesNo fees for identity theft victims who provide a police report. All others pay $10 to place the freeze, $10 to lift it temporarily, and $10 to remove it altogether. This fee may be increased on Jan. 1 of each year based on the increase in the federal Consumer Price Index, rounded to the nearest $0.25.
How to place a freezeTo place a freeze, you must provide identifying information and submit the request in writing via certified mail. If you are a victim of identity theft, you must include a copy of your police report to avoid paying a $10 fee.
How long?Security freeze automatically expires after 7 years from date of placement.



Louisiana

Statute or CitationLa. Rev. Stat. Ann. §9:3571.1
Who can requestAll consumers, including a representative of an individual who is under the age of 16 years at the time of the request or an individual for whom a guardian or conservator has been appointed.
FeesNo fees for identity theft victims or person aged 62 years and older. All others pay up to $10 to place the freeze, and up to $8 to lift it temporarily. No fee to remove the freeze altogether. 
How to place a freezeTo place a security freeze on your credit report, you must contact each of the three major credit reporting agencies in writing or via telephone. Send a copy of a police report to prove identity theft.
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer.



Maine

Statute or CitationMe. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 10, §1311 et seq.
Who can requestAny consumer, including a representative of an individual who is under the age of 16 years at the time of the request.
FeesNo fees for placing the freeze, or lifting it temporarily or permanently.
How to place a freezeTo place a freeze, you must call or write to each of the three credit bureaus.
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer. 



Maryland

Statute or CitationMd. Commercial Code Ann. §1212.1 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers, including a representative of an individual who is under the age of 16 years at the time of the request, an individual for whom a guardian or conservator has been appointed, or an individual who is in the custody of a local department or foster care.
FeesNo fees for identity theft victims who provide report of alleged identity fraud or with an "identity theft passport" -- a document from the state attorney general that attests that your identity has been stolen. All others pay $5 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether. 
How to place a freezeTo place a freeze, send written request via certified mail to each of the three credit bureaus, or submit request via phone, email or secure web site. To prove you are a victim of identity theft (and to avoid the fees), you must send a copy of a report of alleged identity fraud or an identity theft passport to each of the credit bureaus. 
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer.



Massachusetts

Statute or CitationMass. Gen. Laws. Ann. ch. 93, §50 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers
FeesNo fee for identity theft victims or victim's spouse. $5 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether. 
How to place a freezeTo place a freeze, you must write to each of the three credit bureaus. Send a copy of your police report to prove identity theft. 
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer. 



Michigan

Statute or CitationMich. Comp. Laws §445.2511 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers, including a representative of an individual who is under the age of 16 years at the time of the request or an individual for whom a guardian or conservator has been appointed.
FeesNo fees for identity theft victims who provide a police report. All others pay up to $10 to place the freeze, $10 to lift it temporarily, and $10 to remove it altogether.
How to place a freezeWrite to each of the three credit bureaus. Send a copy of police report to prove identity theft.
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer. 



Minnesota

Statute or CitationMinn. Stat. §13C.016 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers
FeesNo fees for identity theft victims who provide police report. All others pay $5 to place the freeze, $5 to lift it temporarily, and $5 to remove it altogether. 
How to place a freezeTo place a freeze, you must write to each of the three credit bureaus. You may also submit a request via phone or secure email.
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer. 



Mississippi

Statute or CitationMiss. Code Ann. §75-24-201 et seq.
Who can requestIdentity theft victims with a police report, investigative report or complaint filed with a law enforcement agency. 
FeesUp to $10 to place freeze, no fee to lift temporarily or remove. 
How to place a freezeTo place a freeze, you must write to each of the three credit bureaus. A copy of your police report must be provided.
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer. 



Missouri

Statute or CitationMo. Rev. Stat. §407.1380 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers
FeesNo fees for identity theft victims who provide police report. All others pay $5 to place the first freeze, $10 for subsequent freezes. Consumers must pay up to $5 to temporarily remove a freeze, but no charge to lift it permanently.
How to place a freezeWrite each of the three credit bureaus or make request via telephone, internet or other electronic means. A copy of a report with law enforcement will prove identity theft.
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer.



Montana

Statute or CitationMont. Code Ann. §30-14-1726 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers, including a parent or guardian of a minor who has an existing credit report or an individual for whom a guardian or conservator has been appointed.
FeesNo fees for identity theft victims. All others pay $3 to place the freeze or to lift it temporarily. No fee to remove the freeze altogether. 
How to place a freezeTo place a freeze, you must write by certified or overnight mail to each of the three credit bureaus or submit request via secure electronic connection. Submit a copy of a police report to prove identity theft.
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer. 



Nebraska

Statute or CitationNeb. Rev. Stat. §8-2601 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers, including a representative of an individual who is under the age of 16 years at the time of the request or an individual for whom a guardian or conservator has been appointed.
FeesNo fees for identity theft victims and minors. All others pay a one time $15 fee to place the freeze. No fee for lifting the freeze temporarily or removing it altogether. 
How to place a freezeTo place a freeze, you must write to each of the three credit bureaus and send via certified mail. To prove you are a victim of identity theft (and to avoid the fees,) you must send a copy of an official police report documenting the identity theft.
How long?Security freeze automatically expires after 7 years from date of placement. 



Nevada

Statute or CitationNev. Rev. Stat. §598C.010 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers
FeesNo fees for identity theft victims who submit a police report or those older than 65. All others pay no more than $10 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily or remove it altogether.
How to place a freezeTo place a security freeze, you must write to each of the three credit bureaus and send via certified mail. A copy of your police report, investigative report or a complaint to a law enforcement agency concerning identity theft must be provided to show that you are a victim of identity theft. 
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer. 



New Hampshire

Statute or CitationN.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §359-B:22 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers
FeesNo fees for identity theft victims who submit a copy of a police report, investigative report, or complaint to a law enforcement agency. All others pay up to $10 to place the freeze, $10 to lift it temporarily, and $10 to remove it altogether. 
How to place a freezeTo place a freeze, you must write to each of the three credit bureaus and send via certified mail. To prove you are a victim of identify theft, you must send to each credit reporting agency a copy of your police report, investigative report, or a complaint to a law enforcement agency.
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer. 



New Jersey

Statute or CitationN.J. Rev. Stat. §56:11-30 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers
FeesNo fee to place a security freeze. $5 fee to lift the freeze temporarily, $5 to remove it altogether.
How to place a freezeTo place a freeze, you must write to each of the three credit reporting agencies or submit request using secure electronic communication.
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer.



New Mexico

Statute or CitationN.M. Stat. Ann. §56-3A-1 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers
FeesNo fees for identity theft victims with a copy of police or investigative report and for residents over 65 years of age. All others pay up to $10 to place a freeze, $5 to lift it temporarily, and $5 to remove it altogether. 
How to place a freezeTo place a freeze, you must write to each of the three credit bureaus. To prove you are a victim (and to avoid the fees,) you must send a copy of a police or investigative report filed with a law enforcement agency to each of the credit bureaus. 
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer.



New York

Statute or CitationN.Y. General Business Law §380-a et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers, including an individual who is under the age of 16 years at the time of the request.
FeesNo fees for identity theft victims. All others can place the freeze for free the first time it is used. These consumers pay $5 to lift it temporarily and $5 to remove it altogether. If they wish to re-start the freeze after it is removed, they pay a $5 fee. 
How to place a freezeTo place a freeze, you must write to each of the three credit bureaus, or submit request via telephone or secure email. A copy of your police report or a signed federal trade commission Id Theft Victim Affidavit must be provided to show that you are a victim of identity theft. 
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer. 



North Carolina

Statute or CitationN.C. Gen. Stat. §75-60 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers, including an individual who is under the age of 16 years at the time of the request or an individual for whom a guardian or conservator has been appointed.
FeesNo fees for identity theft victims with a valid report or complaint with a law enforcement agency, or for consumers under 16 or over 62. All others pay up to $5 to place the freeze, $5 to lift it temporarily, and $5 to remove it altogether. 
How to place a freezeTo place a freeze, contact each of the credit bureaus via first-class mail, telephone or secure web site or email.
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer. 



North Dakota

Statute or CitationN.D. Cent. Code §51-33-01 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers 
FeesNo fees for identity theft victims with valid copy of a police report or police case number documenting the investigative report or complaint to law enforcement agency. All others pay up to $5 to place the freeze and $5 to temporarily lift the freeze. No fee for removing freeze. 
How to place a freezeTo place a freeze, you must write in your request and submit it by mail, telephone, or through a secure electronic mail connection if it is provided by the consumer reporting agency to each of the three credit bureaus. If you’re the victim of identity theft, a copy of your police report or a police case number documenting the identity theft, investigative report, or complaint to a law enforcement agency must be included to avoid a fee. 
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer. 



Ohio

Statute or CitationOhio Rev. Code Ann. §1349.52 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers, including a representative of an individual who is under the age of 16 years at the time of the request or an individual for whom a guardian or conservator has been appointed.
FeesNo fees for identity theft victims with valid copy of a police report. All others pay up to $5 to place the freeze, $5 to temporarily lift the freeze and $5 for removing the freeze. 
How to place a freezeTo place a freeze, you must write to each of the three credit bureaus and submit it by certified mail, or through a secure electronic method.
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer. 



Oklahoma

Statute or CitationOkla. Stat. tit. 24, §149 
Who can requestAll consumers
FeesNo fees for identity theft victims with investigative report. Placing first freeze and removing first freeze is free to seniors age 65 and older, but costs $10 to add and remove subsequent freezes, and $10 to temporarily lift any freeze. All others pay $10 to place freeze, $10 to lift it temporarily, and $10 to remove it altogether. 
How to place a freezeTo place a freeze, you must write to each of the three credit bureaus and send via certified mail. A copy of your police report, investigative report or a complaint to a law enforcement agency concerning identity theft must be provided to show that you are a victim of identity theft. 
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer. 



Oregon

Statute or CitationOr. Rev. Stat. §646A.600 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers, including a representative of an individual who is under the age of 16 years at the time of the request or an individual for whom a guardian or conservator has been appointed. 
FeesNo fee for identity theft victims. $10 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether 
How to place a freezeTo place a freeze, you must write to each of the three credit bureaus or send a request via secure electronic communication. If you are a victim of identity theft, send a copy of your police report, investigative report or a complaint to a law enforcement agency.
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer. 



Pennsylvania

Statute or CitationPa. Stat. tit. 73, §2501 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers 
FeesNo fees for identity theft victims. Placing and removing a freeze is free to seniors aged 65 and older, but they must pay $10 to temporarily lift it. All others pay $10 to place the freeze and $10 to lift it temporarily. No fee to remove the freeze. 
How to place a freezeTo place a freeze, you must send by certified mail a letter to each consumer reporting agency requesting a security freeze be placed on your account or make the request through a secure internet connection. To prove identity theft, send a copy of the police report to the credit bureaus.
How long?Security freeze automatically expires after 7 years from date of placement. 



Rhode Island

Statute or CitationR.I. Gen. Laws §6-48-1 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers 
FeesNo fees for identity theft victims or seniors aged 65 years and older. All others pay $10 to place the freeze, $10 to lift it temporarily, and $10 to remove it altogether. 
How to place a freezeTo place a freeze, you must write to each of the three credit bureaus and send via certified mail. A copy of your investigative report or complaint from a law enforcement agency concerning identity theft must be provided to show that you are a victim of identity theft. 
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer. 



South Carolina

Statute or CitationS.C. Code Ann. §37-20-110 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers, including a representative of an individual who is under the age of 16 years at the time of the request or an individual for whom a guardian or conservator has been appointed.
FeesNo charge for placing a freeze, temporarily removing a freeze or removing a freeze permanently.
How to place a freezeTo place a freeze, you must write to each of the three credit bureaus and send via certified mail or electronic mail.
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer. 



South Dakota

Statute or CitationS.D. Codified Laws Ann. §54-15-1 et seq.
S.D. Codified Laws Ann. §54-16-1 et seq.
Who can requestIdentity theft victims with a valid police report as well as a representative of protected consumer (those under the age of 16 or a person incapacitated who has a guardian or conservator).
FeesNo fees for identity theft victims and those under the age of 16.
For protected consumers 16 and over, credit bureaus may charge up to $5 per freeze and to temporarily or permanently lift the freeze.
How to place a freezeTo place a freeze, you must write to each of the three credit bureaus. You must provide identifying information, and proof that you are a victim of identity theft. A copy of your police report is required to show that you are a victim of identity theft. Guardians for protected consumers must show that they have authority to act on the protected consumer’s behalf.
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer. 



Tennessee

Statute or CitationTenn. Code §47-18-2101 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers, including a representative of an individual who is under the age of 16 years at the time of the request or an individual for whom a guardian or conservator has been appointed. 
FeesNo fees for identity theft victims. All others pay $7.50 to place the freeze, no fee to lift it temporarily, and $5 to remove it altogether. 
How to place a freezeTo place a freeze, you must write to each of the three credit bureaus and send via certified mail. To prove you are a victim of identity theft (and to avoid the fees,) you must send a copy of a police or other official document showing the identity theft. 
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer. 



Texas

Statute or CitationTex. Business §Commerce Code Ann. §20.01 et seq. and Tex. Business §Commerce Code Ann. §20.21 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers, including a representative of an individual who is under the age of 16 years at the time of the request.
FeesNo fees for identity theft victims and consumers under the age of of 16. All other consumers pay up to $10 to place the freeze, $10 to lift it temporarily, and $10 to remove it altogether.
How to place a freezeTo place a freeze, you must write to the three credit bureaus and send via certified mail. To prove you are a victim of identity theft (and to avoid the fees,) you must send a copy of a report of alleged identity fraud or an "identity theft passport" -- a document from the state attorney general's office that verifies your identity has been stolen -- to each of the credit bureaus. 
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer. 



Utah

Statute or CitationUtah Code Ann. §13-42-101 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers, including a representative of an individual who is under the age of 16 years at the time of the request or an individual for whom a guardian or conservator has been appointed, as well as other protected persons.
FeesNo fees for victims of identity theft. Utah’s law allows credit bureaus to charge ‘reasonable fees,’ without specifying the amount that can be charged.
How to place a freezeeesTo place a freeze, you must write to each of the three credit bureaus and send via certified mail. To prove you are a victim of identity theft and avoid fees, you must send a copy of a police report to the credit bureaus. 
How long?Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.



Vermont

Statute or CitationVt. Stat. Ann. tit. 9, §2480a et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers
FeesNo fees for identity theft victims. All others pay up to $10 to place the freeze, $5 to lift it temporarily and $5 to remove it altogether. 
How to place a freezeTo place a security freeze, you must write to each of the three credit bureaus and send via certified mail. If you have been an ID theft victim, you must provide a copy of your police report (or DMV investigation report).
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer. 



Virgina

Statute or CitationVa. Code §59.1-444.1 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers, including a representative of an individual who is under the age of 16 years at the time of the request or an individual for whom a guardian or conservator has been appointed.
FeesNo fees for identity theft victims. All others pay up to $10 to place each freeze, and no charge to lift it temporarily or remove it altogether. 
How to place a freezeTo place a security freeze, you must write to each of the three credit bureaus and send via certified mail or submit request using another secure method offered by the credit bureau. To prove identity theft, send a copy of the police report to the credit bureaus.
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer. 



Washington

Statute or CitationWash. Rev. Code §19.182.170 et seq. and Wash. Rev. Code §19.182.220 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers, including a representative of an individual who is under the age of 16 years at the time of the request or an individual for whom a guardian or conservator has been appointed.. 
FeesNo fees for identity theft victims or seniors aged 65 years and older. All others pay up to $10 to place the freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether. 
How to place a freezeWrite to each of the three major credit reporting agencies requesting a credit report security freeze and send via certified mail.
How long?Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer. 



West Virginia

Statute or CitationW. Va. Code §46A-6L-101 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers
FeesNo fees for identity theft victims. All others pay $5 to place the freeze, $5 to lift it temporarily, and $5 to remove it altogether. 
How to place a freezeTo place a freeze, you must write by certified mail to each of the three credit bureaus or use a secure electronic method to request the freeze. To prove identity theft, submit a copy of a police report or official complaint to a law enforcement agency.
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer. 



Wisconsin

Statute or CitationWis. Stat. §100.54 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers, including a representative of an individual who is under the age of 16 years at the time of the request or an individual for whom a guardian or conservator has been appointed.
FeesNo fee for identity theft victims. All others pay $10 to place freeze, $10 to temporarily lift, and $10 to remove the freeze altogether. 
How to place a freezeTo place a freeze, you must write to each of the three credit bureaus. If you are a victim of identity theft, you must provide proof that you are a victim of identity theft. Proof includes reports to law enforcement agencies concerning identity theft. All others must pay a $10 charge. 
How long?Permanent freeze; remains until removal requested by consumer. 



Wyoming

Statute or CitationWyo. Stat. §40-12-501 et seq.
Who can requestAll consumers
FeesNo fees for identity theft victims. All others pay $10 to place the freeze, $10 to lift it temporarily, and $10 to remove it altogether. 
How to place a freezeTo place a freeze, you must write to each of the three credit bureaus via certified mail. To prove you are a victim of identity theft (and to avoid the fees,) you must send a copy of a police report to each of the credit bureaus. 
How long?Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.



Family members and credit fraud

In some cases, family members themselves are the ones obtaining credit fraudulently in a child’s name. Foster children are particularly vulnerable to identity theft. “They’re a target, unfortunately, in many cases,” Griffin says.

Griffin has worked with teachers who try to help students to address fraud issues. In such cases, the minors may need to file police reports and affidavits against family members. “It’s a really heart-wrenching, difficult circumstance,” he says.

Federal law requires child welfare agencies to obtain annual credit reports for foster care youths ages 16 and older, and to help them clear up their records in cases of identity theft, according to the FTC.

Data breaches at health insurers and other companies also may expose children to identity theft. Do not ignore any notices you receive indicating that you or your family may have had personal information exposed in a data breach. Instead, respond appropriately, Griffin says. “You need to be actively engaged in protecting your information and your children’s,” he says.  

See related: CFPB helps protect foster children’s credit, Credit bureau policies vary when freezing a child’s credit, How to clear fraudulent card accounts from credit reports



Join the discussion
We encourage an active and insightful conversation among our users. Please help us keep our community civil and respectful. For your safety, do not disclose confidential or personal information such as bank account numbers or social security numbers. Anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

If you are commenting using a Facebook account, your profile information may be displayed with your comment depending on your privacy settings. By leaving the 'Post to Facebook' box selected, your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below.

The editorial content on CreditCards.com is not sponsored by any bank or credit card issuer. The journalists in the editorial department are separate from the company's business operations. The comments posted below are not provided, reviewed or approved by any company mentioned in our editorial content. Additionally, any companies mentioned in the content do not assume responsibility to ensure that all posts and/or questions are answered.




Weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, advice, articles and tips delivered to your inbox. It's FREE.


Updated: 04-22-2018