Credit Report Fraud in your child's name? Clues, proof, and how to fix it!


I'll never forget the night my husband after reviewing our college-aged daughter's credit card that she had "purchased" a 32" flat screen tv.  

WHAT?  We had her on a tight spending, she kept herself on a spending plan, and had never given us an ounce of worry in this regard.  But a FLAT SCREEN TV?  

Well, of course it turned out to be that her credit card # had been "skimmed".  In other words, someone had digitally lifted her credit card information while they had her credit card to check out with at a restaurant.  

True confession, however.  We had trained her to review her credit charges and look for irregularities.  Who discovered the error?  Her dad.  

Take heart.  No matter how many plans you put in motion, bad things can happen to good people.  

How do you know if your child's credit report/scores and more are in jeopardy?

Of course, review the charges.   Captain Obvious, right?  

What if your teen doesn't even HAVE a credit card to put them at risk to begin with?  What are the CLUES?

  1. You begin to get collection agency calls asking for your child to "pay me".

  2. They do apply for credit in some fashion and are turned down due to "bad credit".

  3. They begin to get "pre-approved" credit card applications in the mail.

Our temptation as busy parents?  To ignore the clues and think "that's odd" and carry on about your day.  Sadly, WE CAN'T IGNORE these clues.  

What type of damage can occur to your child's credit standing?

They can open accounts, purchase big ticket items, play havoc with almost anything that might show up on a credit report.  They could end up being turned down for any credit application they seek, or pay a higher interest rate.  The ultimate frustration?  Having to reverse all the damage that's been done.  

Because this involves a minor, the bar is set higher to get to see their financial data, assuming it exists at all.  (while the higher bar is frustrating, let's be thankful because this helps reduce fraud in and of itself)

By the way, you might not think your child even has a credit report, but don't assume that to be the case. Here's a quick primer on why they might have a credit report despite their not even having a credit card or financial instrument that could automatically create a financial trail.  

You need to prove you are, in fact, legally able to see their financial data.

For your teen, you need to locate:

  • their legal name, address, and birthdate

  • a copy of their birth certificate

  • a copy of their social security card

The items you will need for yourself:

  • a copy of a current utility bill

  • a government issued id in your name (like a driver's license)

  • NOTE:  the address of the utility bill AND the address on your gov. id MUST be the same

There are 4 places you need to approach to see the data, if any, that has been collected for them.  Each will have nuances to their viewing requirements as they are different entities.  Some you can upload the above things you've gathered, some you might have to mail hard copies to them.  

Your Parent Teachable Moment

Snag this opportunity to do this research with your teen.  You are teaching them great financial habits.  Sadly, and especially, in this day and age, we have to keep track of our financial name and integrity so much differently than when you and I grew up.   Then, put this on your calendar to repeat checking up on it next year.  When they see you caring enough to investigate this each year, they are much more likely to carry this habit thru their adulthood.  Avoiding pitfalls?  Priceless!

What if you find fraud during your investigation? 

There will be clear steps explained by each company on what to do next.  If you see out and out fraud, the police may need to be informed as well as a step-by-step process to get the faulty information off your child's credit report.

We had to get the police involved in the restaurant "skimming" caper in my daughter's college town.  Oh, and yes, this police department donates a certain block of time each week tracking these types of crimes to the criminal.  It wasn't fun to go thru, but what a lesson it was for everyone at my house!

Coming soon?  Learn about credit card "authorized users".  What is it?  Is it right for you and your teen?  

Have a great week AND as we always say:

You CAN Have Success in the Middle of it ALL !

The JellyGeneration Team!


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Who Is JellyGeneration?

Pam Hardison, MBA, BBA in Finance and Business Education, has created and co-owned a national mail order catalog which at one point was the 21st fastest growing customerbase in the nation.  As a mom of two college-post college daughters, considers it a privilege and to meet other students and parents along the same road.   After teaching high school and college students for years, her commitment to helping them with topics most schools can't cover is the light that drives her.  

Holly Powers, Attorney-At-Law (Jameson & Powers, P.C.) has been actively practicing law since 1985 and is a shareholder with the law firm of Jameson & Powers, P.C.  The firm specializes in transactional law, health care law, and general business law.  Holly has taught students precepts concerning the legal world for over 10 years.  With 4 children, she understands what teens need to know and has a passion to help others faced with teens and aging parents.  






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