Freezing Your Child’s Credit: Why It’s Critical and How To Do It

Freezing Your Child’s Credit - Why It’s Critical and How To Do It

If you haven’t frozen your credit yet, I’ll be harping on why you need to do that shortly.

However, this article is about freezing your child’s credit and why it’s just as important, if not more important, than freezing your own.

Lisa and I have had our credit frozen since 2017. It wasn’t hard to do (it’s even easier now) and it’s quick and easy to thaw it temporarily when applying for new credit. That last part’s important because we tend to apply for new credit cards several times per year to take advantage of the travel rewards.

So that’s all well and good, but freezing your child’s credit isn’t as simple to do. Honestly, it’s a little bit of a pain in the butt. I’ve known that for years and it’s the big reason I ended up putting this task off for a couple of years.

I’m not proud that it took so long to make it happen, but regardless, I just got done it all done. It’s just one less thing now that we need to worry about with our daughter’s financial future.

So today I’ll take you through why freezing your child’s credit is important and how to do it.

Understanding the importance of a credit freeze

Unfortunately, I think we’ve become numb to the regularity of all the data breaches that keep compromising our personal information. The 2017 Equifax breach, which they were really never even punished for, was the nail in the coffin for almost everyone. Between that trainwreck and the others that we’ve become accustomed to all too often, it’s a safe bet to just assume your information is out there on the dark web.

And with your personal information potentially in the hands of thieves, what are some of the most profitable things for them to do with it? Here are a few of the more common possibilities:

  • Getting a bank loan for themselves under your name
  • Opening up a credit card for themselves under your name
  • Opening a bank account and writing bad checks… all in your name
  • Establishing utility services in your name

These are some of the typical uses but there are plenty of others that can destroy you as well. And bear in mind that you generally don’t even know this is happening… until you possibly start noticing strange things down the road once it’s too late. Suddenly, you get a call from a bill collector wanting you to make a payment on your overdue loan that’s not even your loan!

Identity theft is no joke. Let these numbers sink in…

“Newly released Federal Trade Commission data shows that consumers reported losing more than $5.8 billion to fraud in 2021, an increase of more than 70 percent over the previous year.

The FTC received fraud reports from more than 2.8 million consumers last year, with the most commonly reported category once again being imposter scams, followed by online shopping scams.”

Federal Trade Commission Press Release – February 22, 2022

And these…

“Identity theft complaints topped the list of fraud reports the FTC received in 2021, with 1,434,695 complaints. ID theft made up about 24% of the 5,883,409 reports of fraud, identity theft and other complaints.”

— Experian – Identity Theft Is on the Rise, Both in Incidents and Losses

Maybe you’ve been fortunate not to have been a victim of identity theft. We’ve been lucky not to have to endure this but I know friends who have gone through the identity theft fiasco and it’s been a complete nightmare for them. It can take years to fix!

Know that if you haven’t been a victim of identity theft, it’s only a matter of time. However, freezing your credit is considered to be the most effective way to help prevent identity theft.

It’s not going to stop 100% of all identity theft crimes, but it sure prohibits most of the worst ones.

A credit freeze essentially prohibits anyone from checking your credit history or opening up new credit in your name. Whether that be trying to open a new credit card, getting a new bank loan, running a credit check for renting a new apartment, or any other request. While the freeze is in place, all these inquiries will be denied.

The exception to this are entities that already have credit in place with you. So if you already have a bank loan or a credit card, those relationships with those specific accounts continue to work as always.

And this freeze doesn’t just stop would-be thieves from opening up new lines of credit – it also prevents you from opening up new lines of credit. The good news is that it only takes a few minutes to temporarily thaw your credit for the dates you need it opened. So if you need to apply for a new credit card or bank loan, you can quickly and easily open that up tentatively. We do that every time right before we apply for a new credit card and it automatically goes back to being frozen shortly after.

Although you could go down a rabbit hole and start freezing your credit at the many different credit bureaus out there, there are really three that you want to put your focus on. Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are the three bureaus that most financial institutions use for running credit checks. You can always work on some of the smaller bureaus later if it eats at you.

So if you haven’t frozen your own credit or your spouse’s, that needs to be your first step. You can make that happen at each of the credit bureau’s websites:

If you need a little more help on this, here’s a good article on the Clark Howard website that can give you a little more guidance: How To Freeze Your Credit With Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

One last but important note: you want a credit freeze, not a credit lock. Credit freezes provide you with more protection as they’re regulated by the government. The credit bureaus push the credit locks they made up because that gives them a lot more control – you don’t want that.

Why freezing your child’s credit needs to be a priority

Ice cubes and credit cards... freezing your child's credit... get it? ;-)
Ice cubes and credit cards… freezing your child’s credit… get it? Dang, I’m a funny guy! 😉

Ok, so now that we’ve established why credit freezes are important, why should you even care about freezing your child’s credit? After all, they likely don’t even have a credit file yet, right?

Funny enough, that’s exactly the problem. Because we tend to think that children wouldn’t be targeted victims, those crimes might go unnoticed for years.

Imagine that your child gets denied a student loan because they unknowingly already have bad credit due to identity theft. Or maybe he or she is old enough and you’re helping them to apply for a new credit card or a bank loan for a new car or whatever and find out they’re denied because their credit is already in the toilet.

“More than one million children were victims of identity fraud in 2017, resulting in total losses of $2.6 billion and over $540 million in out-of-pocket costs to families, according to the 2018 Child Identity Fraud Study released today by Javelin Strategy & Research.”

Child Identity Fraud Hit More Than One Million U.S. Victims in 2017 According to New Javelin Strategy & Research Study

As you can see, these scenarios aren’t uncommon so you don’t just want to shrug this off. Freezing your child’s credit is a minor inconvenience to do that can immensely help protect their financial future (and save a ton of headaches!). You want to make this happen.

How to freeze your child’s credit

Hopefully, I’ve convinced you why freezing your child’s credit is so important. The one problem… it’s not as easy as freezing your own credit.

It’s proclaimed to be set up this way to help protect the security of your kid. But remember, the credit bureaus make a fortune selling off your personal information so it’s in their best interest to have the next generation show up unprotected. The bureaus can’t easily sell your information when your credit’s frozen. And maybe there’s less government scrutiny as long as they’re still making it fairly easy for adults to freeze their own credit.

Whatever the reason, know that freezing your child’s credit is going to involve a little bit of work. You need to get copies made of several pieces of sensitive information and then physically mail them to each of the credit bureaus. To me that sounds a little archaic and less secure, but what do I know?

I will say that Experian now allows you to upload copies of the requested documents instead. I didn’t use that option since I didn’t realize it was a choice until I was ready to mail the documents. but at least they’ve taken a step in the right direction.

Bear in mind that these steps apply to kids under the age of 16. For 16 and 17-year-old kids, the instructions vary slightly because the minor requests his/her own credit freeze (though it still can’t be done online until age 18).

Ok, let’s hit this two ways. First, I’ll brief you on the cluster of requirements and options at each bureau. Then I’ll tell you what I chose after deciphering all this just to make this a little simpler.

Here are the requirements at each of the three major credit bureaus (as of this writing)


The Equifax information page on freezing your child’s credit states the following:

Q. What paperwork do I need in order to place a security freeze on my child’s credit report?

A. You’ll need to provide copies of documentation that verify your identity; the minor dependent’s identity; and your relationship to the minor dependent.
To prove your identity, please provide copies of one (1) of the following pieces of identification:

• A copy of your driver’s license or other government-issued identification
• A copy of your Social Security card
• A copy of your birth certificate

To prove you are the child’s parent or authorized representative, please provide copies of one (1) of the following pieces of documentation:

• A copy of the child’s birth certificate
• A copy of a court order
• A copy of a lawfully executed and valid power of attorney
• A copy of a foster care certification

To validate the child’s identity, please provide copies of both of the following:

• A copy of the child’s Social Security card
• A copy of the child’s birth certificate


The Experian information page on freezing your child’s credit states:

In order for us to find out if Experian’s database contains credit information about your minor child, you will need to write to us with all of the following:

• Printed form with the information provided above [The form they’re referring to is found here]
• A copy of your driver’s license or another government issued identification card, such as a state ID card
• Proof of your address, such as a copy of a bank statement, utility bill, insurance statement
• A copy of your child’s birth certificate
• Proof of guardianship, if not named on child’s birth certificate
• A copy of your child’s Social Security card


The TransUnion information page on freezing your child’s credit states:

How do I freeze for my minor child?

If you are a parent or guardian of a minor and would like to freeze their credit report, you can do this by adding a protected consumer freeze to their credit file. Here’s what you’ll need to provide:

1. A written request to place a “protected consumer freeze” on the named individual’s file
2. AND a copy of one piece of documentation that provides ‘sufficient proof of authority’ that you have authority to act on behalf of the minor or dependent such as:

• An order issued by a court of law
• A lawfully executed and valid power of attorney
• A document issued by a Federal, State, or local government agency in the United States showing proof of parentage, including a birth certificate
• With respect to a protected consumer who has been placed in a foster care setting, a written communication from a county welfare department or its agent or designee, or a county probation department or its agent or designee, certifying that the protected consumer is in a foster care setting under its jurisdiction.
3. AND information or copies of documentation confirming your identity AND the identity of the minor/dependent. Information or documentation needs to provide ‘sufficient proof of identification’ that you and the minor/dependent are who you really are, such as a:

• Social Security number or a copy of a Social Security card
• Certified or official copy of a birth certificate issued by the entity authorized to issue the birth certificate
• Copy of a driver’s license, an identification card issued by the motor vehicle administration, or any other government issued identification

Please only send copies of documents, not original documents.

Here’s the simple way I did it…

That’s a lot, right? It took a little bit of concentration just to decipher all this. I simplified my life a little by using the common denominators where I could. Depending on your life circumstances, you may or may not be able to follow suit. Here’s what I did:

• Filled out and submitted the TransUnion Child Identity Theft Inquiry just to be sure my daughter didn’t already have a credit file
• Made copies:
    ○ 3 copies of my driver’s license
    ○ 3 copies of my daughter’s birth certificate
    ○ 3 copies of my daughter’s social security card
    ○ 1 copy of a utility bill that showed my name and address on it
• I filled out and printed off the required information form for Experian
• I filled out and printed off the minor security freeze request form for Equifax
• I created, printed, and signed a quick letter to TransUnion to request the freeze (details below)

Here’s what my request letter for TransUnion looked like (except maybe for the return address section):

Jimmy Jam “Route to Retire” White
123 Sesame Street
Cleveland, OH 12345

February 1, 2023

P.O. Box 380
Woodlyn, PA 19094

To Whom It May Concern:

Please place a protected credit freeze on the account of my minor child, Faith White.

I have enclosed the documents required to place the freeze as instructed by your website.


James White

• 1 copy of my driver’s license
• 1 copy of my daughter’s birth certificate
• 1 copy of my daughter’s social security card

Then I stuffed and labeled each envelope accordingly…


Equifax Information Services LLC
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348-5788


  • The required information form for Experian
  • 1 copy of my driver’s license
  • 1 copy of my daughter’s birth certificate
  • 1 copy of my daughter’s social security card
  • 1 copy of a utility bill that showed my name and address on it

PO Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013

Note: Experian’s website states that you can upload copies of the documents instead if preferred. I didn’t go that route but feel free to check into it if you want.


  • The signed letter to TransUnion requesting the freeze
  • 1 copy of my driver’s license
  • 1 copy of my daughter’s birth certificate
  • 1 copy of my daughter’s social security card

P.O. Box 380
Woodlyn, PA 19094

IMPORTANT: Due to the importance and the highly sensitive information of these things, I mailed everything as Certified Mail with Return Receipt requested. This wasn’t cheap. It ran just over $24 total for all three envelopes. This isn’t an area where I wanted to skimp though.

Once they receive and process everything, they’ll first create a credit file for your kid, assuming one doesn’t already exist (hopefully it doesn’t). Then they’ll freeze their credit file.

I was surprised at the fast turnaround. Within a couple of days of the post office tracking showing the letters were received, I got confirmation letters back in the mail stating that the credit file was created and frozen.

One note to be aware of is that when your child is ready to apply for credit (be it a loan, credit card, or whatever else), you’ll need to provide a written request to temporarily lift the freeze along with some required documentation. This applies for as long they’re minors. Once they’re 18, they can create accounts at the bureaus online and manage the freezes themselves.

And that’s it, my friends. You can now sleep a little easier knowing that you did your good deed by freezing your child’s credit and helped prevent some potentially big problems in their future.

Plan well, take action, and live your best life!

Thanks for reading!!

— Jim

You know you wanna share this!!

8 thoughts on “Freezing Your Child’s Credit: Why It’s Critical and How To Do It”

  1. This is great information for everyone with a minor. I never froze my kids credit because of all the hoops needed to jump through for these garbage organizations. So far so good as they are both of age. Need to get them to freeze their credit the regular way at this point.

    1. So much easier to do as adults. If the situation wasn’t continuing to become more and more common, I might have waited for Faith as well since it’s a little work to do. Glad that your kids got through their years as minors without an issue!

  2. Scott @ I Dream of FIRE

    Like you, I’ve been thinking about doing this for years and just didn’t want to go through the trouble. Thanks for doing the leg work, buddy! I’ll get on it.

    1. Hey, long time, Scott!! Hope all is well with you!! Yeah, it just seems like a mess to do that it’s too easy to put off. It wasn’t bad though – just took a little bit to figure out what they were really after and then making it happen. You’ll be glad once it’s done!

  3. I’ll get right on it! I bookmarked this post and it’s on the to-do list. Hopefully, I’ll get it done this year. Recently, I’ve been procrastinating way too much.

  4. In addition to those 3, we also froze the kids’ credit with Chex, Innovis, and LexisNexis (until recently I didn’t even know LexisNexis was in the credit business). Apparently they are used more often by banks and credit unions, and as people are getting more careful about protecting traditional credit, thieves have transitioned to using stolen identities to cash bad checks, etc. With a history of supposed bank fraud it can get hard to open accounts. I figured that putting together 6 letters per kid instead of 3 wasn’t that big a deal relative to the value added.

    That said I find it incredibly obnoxious that all these companies make “we get to do whatever we want with your information” the default and we have to go through contortions to establish basic protections.

    1. That’s impressive, Dee! Most folks don’t even have their own credit frozen much less their kids… and you’ve taken it a step further with a few of the other bureaus! You might be the push I need to knock some of the others out as well. 🙂

      And yeah, I agree – it’s crazy that they can do whatever they want with our info. That would be recognized as theft in a lot of other places in the world.

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