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How To – Check a Child’s Credit Report

We encourage parents and guardians to check with the three major Credit Reporting Agencies (CRAs) to see if their child has a credit report, using a child’s personally identifying information (PII).  PII includes, but is not limited to, a child’s name, Social Security Number, and birthdate. Thieves can piece together parts of your child’s PII with another individual’s PII to create an identity (also known as synthetic identity theft), so you should provide more than just one piece of information to make sure the CRAs can do a thorough check of their systems.

Though there is no limit to the amount of times you can check for an existing child’s credit report, please be aware of the added exposure you create by mailing PII documents through the mail and/or uploading documents with PII. 

Writing to the CRAs

Each credit reporting agency has different requirements to inquire about and/or obtain a child’s credit report.  Regardless of the information being sent, we recommend you mail the information via certified mail with return receipt to ensure your information was received.

Equifax 

Visit here for more information.  The link provides a list of the documentation you will need and asks that you provide a letter of explanation. 

Experian 

Visit here for more information.  The link provides a list of the documentation you will need to send as well as a form that needs to be filled out by the parent/guardian submitting the request. 

TransUnion

Visit here to fill out TransUnion’s form.

Per TransUnion’s website, “You can also email childidtheft@transunion.com. Remember, do not email sensitive, identifying or account information.”

If your child does NOT have a credit report

Continue to check periodically.  It is particularly important to start checking annually once a child turns 16 as this will allow you to address any potential issues prior to the child becoming a legal adult, when he/she will more than likely rely on credit for things like loans (e.g. student or auto), renting an apartment, etc.

Federal law allows for a minor’s – under 16 years old – credit report to be created and immediately frozen upon creation in the hopes that this will prevent reports being created with fraudulent information.  This can be done at no cost.  If you are concerned your child’s information may be used to create a credit report or commit identity theft, this may be a good option to circumvent identity thieves.  If your child is 16 or 17 and does not have a credit report, you will need to continue to monitor his/her credit.  Only some states have a law that allows parents of minors under 18 years of age to create and freeze a credit report, and these generally are associated with a fee.  The National Conference of State Legislatures has a chart that lists each state and the corresponding laws/fees.

Read ITRC Info Sheet – How to Place a Credit Freeze

If your child has a credit report

Review your child’s report for accounts attributed to them.  See our resources for identity theft or contact us so we can walk you through the steps you need to take to close any fraudulently opened accounts and remove them from your child’s credit report.

Consider freezing your child’s credit report. You will have to freeze your report with each CRA separately:

Equifax 

Experian 

TransUnion

This fact sheet should not be used in lieu of legal advice. Any requests to reproduce this material, other than by individual victims for their own use, should be directed to itrc@idtheftcenter.org.