How to protect your child's credit following a data breach

If you find out your child's personal information has been potentially compromised in a data breach, one of the best things you can do is freeze your child's credit file.

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Child identity fraud happens more often than you think. 

According to a study published by Javelin Strategy and Research late last year, 915,000 children in the U.S. were victims of identity fraud between 2021 and 2022. That same study also found that one in every 43 children had their personal information exposed and potentially compromised in the past year by a data breach.

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“One of the greatest challenges that we see with minors having their identities compromised is that there is no notification," said Tracy Kitten, director of fraud and security at Javelin Strategy and Research. "So it's not until you go to apply for a student loan when the child is going to college, or maybe when a child applies for a first job — we're talking about the age of 15 or 16 — that you realize, hey there's something going on with the credit."

Kitten said if you find out your child's personal information has been potentially compromised in a data breach, one of the best things you can do is freeze your child's credit file. To do so, you will have to contact each of the three major credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax and Transunion — via mail. 

You can learn more about what you need to do for each one by clicking on the following links:

Equifax
Experian
Transunion

Kitten also recommends signing up your family for a credit monitoring service. 

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You don't have to wait until you have a problem to take any of these steps. You can be proactive and go ahead and set up a credit freeze for your child, even if their personal information does not appear to have been compromised.

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