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I was told that identity theft of a minor's credit is a very sought after goal for thieves. Is it true that credit agencies will offer lines of credit to individuals who are not yet 18? Is there any minimum age they filter against? If an identity theft succeeds on a child target is it true that there's no real alert to the parent regarding another destroying their child's credit history?

Should the default action be to freeze a minor child's credit until they come of age and can monitor these things so that they don't start out with a ruined credit history? Basically request a credit freeze right after birth. Is this a common request to the credit agencies, what do they formally call such requests?

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    I know you can't get a credit card before 18. Not sure about other lines of credit though. – Corey P May 2 '19 at 19:16
  • Can a child who has never used credit have a credit record? If the credit record doesn’t exist, how can you freeze it? – WGroleau May 2 '19 at 20:25
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    @WGroleau: Freezing can be more difficult, because without a record automatic identity verification questions can't be generated. Manual verification should still be possible. And the result should be that the result of a credit inquiry changes from "There is no credit record." to "I will not answer that question." – Ben Voigt May 2 '19 at 23:27
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    Yes. it can happen. I was 12 years old when I was given my first credit line. – TechAnt May 3 '19 at 11:38
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    While a touch out of date, security researcher Brian Krebs published an article regarding this. – Kevin Mirsky May 3 '19 at 19:17
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I just turned 18 and didnt find out until I got credit karma, (even then with intensive digging throughout the app) I found I had a overdue cable bill put in my name prior to turning 18, and I am currently in the process of disputing. $500 I have owed. I have no real advice and I'm sorry but yes. It is a thing.

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Anyone under 18 cannot get a credit card - they can however become an authorized user on a parent's card. However, at that point it would still be your responsibility to cross reference their purchases with your statement to make sure nothing unexpected is happening.

You should also be able to sign up your child for free credit marketing i.e. something like CreditKarma to keep an eye on their credit score.

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    I think the more likely risk is something called synthetic identity theft, where the thief steals the child's SSN and pairs it with a fake birth date. Since the kid doesn't have an existing credit record with their correct birth date, there's nothing to throw a flag that this is a minor's SSN. – lizziv Nov 14 '19 at 17:14

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