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Resources > Identity Protection > Child Identity Theft Experian—A Parent’s Guide to the Credit Bureau’s Security

Child Identity Theft Experian—A Parent’s Guide to the Credit Bureau’s Security

Keeping your child’s identity and personal information away from prying eyes is no easy feat. Instead of trying to do it on your own, you can leverage the help offered by numerous institutions.

Seeing as many cases of child identity theft involve fraudulent credit accounts, credit bureaus might help you increase your child’s ID security. If you’re thinking about seeking their protection against child identity theft, Experian’s services are worth looking into.

This article outlines the credit bureaus’ free and paid options, as well as an alternative that goes beyond credit protection.

Experian’s Role in ID Theft Protection

Most child identity theft cases are financially motivated. When a scammer steals a child’s Social Security number (SSN) or other identifiers, they can use them to create a new, fake credit profile and obtain loans.

Considering that a credit check is necessary for loan approval, Experian and other major consumer credit bureaus (Equifax and TransUnion) can help prevent fraudulent accounts in the child’s name.

Each credit bureau has a specific set of security measures, though some of them overlap. If you want Experian’s help, you can choose from the following options:

  1. Child identity theft inquiry
  2. Security freeze and fraud alert
  3. Experian IdentityWorks

Experian Child Identity Theft Inquiry

If you believe your child may have fallen victim to ID theft, the first thing you should do is check if they have a credit profile. Experian lets you do this by filling out the Minor Credit Report Request on their website, which you should print out and mail to them.

If your child is 14 or older, they can request their credit profile independently through Experian’s online portal. If they’re younger, you must do it for them through a written request, as the credit information of children 13 and under can’t be accessed online.

In this case, you should fill out the aforementioned form and gather the following documents:

  • State ID card, driver’s license, or another document proving your identity
  • Utility bill, bank statement, or other proof of address
  • Your child’s birth certificate
  • Proof of guardianship
  • Your child’s social security cards

Create copies of all the above documents and mail them alongside the form by regular or overnight mail to the following addresses:

RegularExperianPO Box 9554Allen, TX 75013
OvernightExperian701 Experian ParkwayAllen, TX 75013

If Experian finds a credit profile in your child’s name, they’ll let you know via USPS or the email you provided in the form. The existence of a credit profile without a legitimate credit history is a major red flag, so you’ll need to take immediate action.

Minor Security Freeze and Fraud Alert

When you freeze a child’s credit profile, new lenders can’t do a credit check because they can’t access it. As a result, the application should be rejected by default, which can prevent fraudsters from opening new accounts in your child’s name.

A freeze can be used as both a preventive and remedial measure. If your child doesn’t have a credit profile, Experian creates one and freezes it immediately. If they do, a freeze helps prevent further damage to the child’s financial well-being and credit score.

Unlike a credit freeze, a fraud alert doesn’t make your child’s credit profile inaccessible. It only shows up as a red flag for the lender, encouraging them to be more diligent when verifying a credit applicant’s identity. While it’s not as secure as a freeze, a fraud alert can still reduce the risk of fraudulent loans.

You can request a security freeze or an alert through the same portal used to check for a credit profile. The documentation and filing process is also the same, except you’ll add a note that you want the chosen service in the appropriate field.

Note that your child can’t work on their credit history while the freeze is active. You’ll need to lift it when your child becomes eligible for loans, as a freeze is only a temporary measure.

Experian IdentityWorks

IdentityWorks is Experian’s ID monitoring product encompassing several services, most notably:

  • Credit monitoring
  • FICO® score tracking
  • Privacy scans
  • Experian CreditLock
  • SSN Tracing
  • Fraud resolution support

The Family plan supports ID monitoring for children (up to ten with one account).

IdentityWorks has a variety of useful features, but its cost might be off-putting to many parents. You’d need to spend hundreds of dollars per year to have your child’s identity monitored, which is far from the most cost-effective solution.

Besides, you might end up overpaying for the services you don’t need, especially if you already have some security measures in place or are using another monitoring product. In this case, you might want to look into an option tailored specifically to children.

Alternatives to Experian’s Services

Unless you sign up for IdentityWorks, Experian doesn’t offer many services that let you keep your child safe proactively. You’re limited to a credit freeze and fraud alert, the drawbacks of which might outweigh the benefits.

For example, it’s not enough to request a credit freeze from Experian alone—you need to do it with the other two credit bureaus as well. Considering the amount of paperwork and mailing time involved, it’s easy to see that a freeze isn’t particularly convenient.

Luckily, you don’t need to limit yourself to the protection offered by credit bureaus. There are many other ID protection services that offer robust security, so you can find the one that suits your needs and budget.

The only problem is that you’ll seldom encounter a service without bothersome monthly fees or one that caters to children without requiring multi-user family plans. To rectify this and let parents keep children safe without hefty investments, Austin Capital Bank created a unique solution—FreeKick.

FreeKick—ID Monitoring Paired With Credit Building (Coming Soon)

Unlike the vast majority of ID monitoring services, FreeKick focuses primarily on overseeing children’s identities. FreeKick combines a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation-insured (FDIC-insured) deposit account with ID monitoring and automated credit building. FreeKick includes a comprehensive set of services that monitor, protect, and restore the identities of your family members. FreeKick provides identity protection services for up to two adult parents and six children aged 0 to 25.

Understanding the importance of retaining control over your child’s information, FreeKick provides these services through a parent-sponsored account. Once you sign up, you can fortify your child’s ID protection and enjoy peace of mind.

Identity Monitoring Features

If your child is still a minor, FreeKick will help protect their identity through various services. Social Security number monitoring is among the must-haves, and it includes several useful features:

FreeKick also uses the dark web monitoring surveillance system to track internet activity associated with the potential trading of your child’s PII. This is because child identity theft often starts on the dark web, so staying vigilant about such activity can contribute to fraud prevention.

Not all ID thefts result in fraudulent loans—there are many stories of criminals using stolen information to conceal their real identities and evade the law. This is common with sex offenders, so FreeKick identifies and tracks all registered offenders in your area. If an offender tries to create a new identity using your address, you’ll get an alert with a report.

Identity protection services for adult children and parents include:

  • Credit profile monitoring 
  • Social Security number monitoring 
  • Dark web monitoring for personal information 
  • Up to $1 million identity theft insurance 
  • Full-service white-glove concierge credit restoration 
  • Lost wallet protection 
  • Court records monitoring 
  • Change of address monitoring 
  • Non-Credit (Payday) loan monitoring
  • Free FICO® Score monthly 
  • FICO® Score factors 
  • Experian credit report monthly

Identity protection services for minor children include:

  • Credit profile monitoring 
  • Social security number monitoring 
  • Dark web monitoring for child’s personal information 
  • Up to $1 million identity theft insurance 
  • Full-service white-glove concierge credit restoration 
  • Sex offender monitoring – based on sponsor parent’s address

FreeKick’s security measures go beyond prevention. If your child’s identity is compromised, a certified restoration specialist will work on their behalf to:

  • Investigate alerts and dispute fraudulent activity
  • Restore your child’s identity to its original form

These services are backed by FreeKick’s up to $1 million ID theft insurance, so you don’t need to worry about the associated expenses.

Effortless Credit Building and Credit Profile Monitoring

You don’t need to work directly with credit bureaus to have your child’s credit profile monitored. FreeKick will do it ongoingly while establishing and building a credit history for your child. 

Here’s how building credit with FreeKick works. All you need to do is choose Activate Credit Building in your account dashboard when your child turns 14. After becoming a legal adult (age 18 in most states), your child simply selects Activate Credit Reporting. When credit reporting is activated, a credit account for $1,000 will be reported to all three major consumer credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion—including the account opening date, amount of credit, type of credit, and last 24 months of payment history, jumpstarting your child’s credit score. FreeKick does not impact a parent’s credit report or score.

Note that credit reporting starts around 90 days after you open the account if your child is already a legal adult (18 and over in most states). If they’re not, they’ll need to activate reporting upon becoming one because credit bureaus don’t allow reporting for minors.

FreeKick offers a plan for every budget. With FreeKick, you can use the savings you already have for your children to protect them and build their credit. You can also get started with just a $10 deposit and a small annual fee.

All FreeKick plans include premium identity protection for two parents and up to six children and credit building for up to six children aged 14 to 25:

DepositAnnual Fee
$3,000$0 (Free)

FreeKick deposits are FDIC-insured up to $250,000.

Help your child enjoy a more carefree future while keeping their identity safe—sign up for FreeKick.