When a minor is the victim of identity theft, the crime can go undetected for years. Typically, the problem is not discovered until the child tries to buy their first car, or get financial aid for college. In a divorce, people are often scrambling for money. An unscrupulous parent might get a credit card in their child’s name, perhaps even intending to pay back the funds without anyone being the wiser. But if the account is not paid, the child’s credit can be destroyed, costing time, money and frustration to correct. States have started to pass legislation to address this issue. In August 2015, North Carolina passed a law that allows a parent to place a credit freeze on their child’s credit report. A credit freeze can prevent loans or credit cards from being obtained illegally in the child’s name.
The child has to be under the age of 16 at the time the request for a credit freeze is submitted. You can find the instructions and forms needed to place a credit freeze on your child’s credit report at each of the three major credit reporting bureaus, TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. Each bureau operates independently, so you will have to contact all three bureaus to prevent the fraud.
Each agency charges up to $5.00 per child. The fee may be waived if:
- your child has been a victim of identity theft
- your child already has a credit report on file with the bureau.
You can read more about this issue at the N.C. Department of Justice website.
If you have questions about your custody case, or other legal issues, the attorneys at Averett Family Law are here to help.