Identity theft is the fraudulent act of stealing one’s identifying information, usually for personal, financial gain. This loss to one and gain to another can have a major negative affect on a person’s lifestyle as well as their families. From the loss of a home to being imprisoned for fraudulent checks. Over 1.84 million people have been victims of some form of identity theft.
A third of which are minors. That is just in the US alone. Unfortunately, most victims of identity theft never totally recover from the infliction of this crime. And, to be the victim of this crime at a young at can cause the individuals life to become chaotic and a struggle to live. If caught early enough, it can be a quick and simple process. Also, can result in the capture of the individual committing the crime.
In order to catch and/or prevent this from happening to your child there are three steps to take.
Step one is to “know the signs”
What are the signs? Simply put, always read through your mail thoroughly. The reason for this is because most times when this act of fraud is created, mail will arrive at your home in your child’s name. the type of mail is usually from banks and credit agencies in regards to mortgages or credit cards open in the childs name.
Step two is to check or check for a credit report attached to the minor’s identity
More than likely, if the minor has a credit report it means there is some type of line of credit open with the name and identity of the child.
The third and final step that can be taken leaves a parent with asking themselves a simple question
To freeze or not to freeze? Freezing a child’s credit report means the individual’s credit is completely frozen. The only access available is to the individual, parent or guardian, and/or current creditors. Adults have the opportunity to freely freeze their credit file at their own discretion. A minor’s credit report, however, must be done the minors parent or guardian. As of January 1, 2026 North Carolina will be implementing a state law that will allow a parent or guardian to freeze a minor’s credit report. This law will allow the parent or guardian of children with a credit report or who have already been a victim of identity theft to file, for free, to freeze and unfreeze the credit report. If the child doesn’t have a report or, thankfully, hasn’t been victimized they can still freeze the report. It may, however cost a $5 fee. The report can be frozen over the phone, by mail, or online at http://www.ncdoj.gov/creditfreeze.
Also, the freeze doesn’t have to be permanent. The parent or guardian can permanently or temporarily unfreeze the credit report with the use of a pin or password established at the onset of freezing the account. This means only a select few people will have access to the safety of the minors identity.