Should we freeze a baby's credit files?
November 12, 2017 11:49 AM   Subscribe

In the aftermath of the Equifax breach, we've been on a credit-freezing binge. We're good on the adult side -- files are frozen for my wife and I at all the major bureaus. Should we go through the process of freezing our 1yo's files too?

I'm getting mixed messages on this topic. It seems like it's definitely possible at Equifax and Experian, and that functionally what would happen is we'd file the paperwork, they'd create a new file for him, and then freeze that file. Stories like this suggest that the SSN's of minors can be used for fraudulent activity. Experian claims that no file is better than a frozen file. It's also more challenging to freeze a minor's file, and not all bureaus support it for the state we live in.

On top of that, my hunch is that my child's SSN wasn't exposed in the breach. He was born prior to the breach but unless someone immediately used his SSN for something credit related, there's no way the credit firms would even know his SSN, right? At this point, none of the bureaus knowing he exists seems maybe more secure than telling them and asking them to freeze the file? On the other hand, if we just check in on whether a file has been created for him, we'll only catch problems after the fact.

What's your sense of the risk here? Is this worth doing?
posted by heresiarch to Work & Money (2 answers total)
If the chance, however small, bothers you enough that you think about it often, and the amount of time you'd spend doing this is not extreme, do it for your peace of mind.
posted by sevensnowflakes at 12:10 PM on November 12, 2017

Even if your child's SSN was exposed in the breach, its likely useless for the most common fraud purposes, because it has no credit history, therefore no credit rating, therefore its nearly impossible to open a new account based on that number.

The other use of your child's SSN - forged ID - won't show up on credit reports. It *may* eventually show up if someone (normally an undocumented person in the US) uses that SSN to get a job and income is reported against it, but there isn't anything you can do to prevent that.
posted by anastasiav at 6:26 AM on November 13, 2017

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