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What is the best time to check my child's credit report?

Most parents never think to check their child's credit report because they do not expect their child to have ever taken out any lines of credit. However, identity thieves often prey upon the Social Security numbers of children because it usually takes a long time for their identity theft to be discovered when it involves a child. In fact, one out of every 40 homes in the United States has at least one child who suffered from identity fraud.

Often what happens is the victims do not discover the fraud until much later. Perhaps, for example, an adult victim goes to apply for his or her first credit card, and then discovers that his or her credit has been compromised. For this reason, it is important for parents to regularly look at their children's credit reports for signs of fraud. The earlier the fraud is discovered, the better so that the debt does not hang in stasis on the child's credit report.

Since children have never had credit cards, or been granted lines of credit in most cases, they will not have a credit report. If the child does have a credit report on file at a credit reporting agency, then it could be a sign that fraud has occurred. As such, parents should keep close contact with credit reporting agencies anytime they suspect that their child could be experiencing a debt problem.

As for how often you should check your child's credit report, the Federal Trade Commission says that parents should check their children's credit reports on or about their 16th birthdays. This provides plenty of time to correct any problematic scores on a credit report that has been compromised before the child applies for a loan for a car or school tuition. Pennsylvania parents who discover a problem with their children's credit reports may wish to contact a credit card debt attorney who can assist them in the process of navigating the resolution of that debt.

Source: credit.com, "When Should You Check Your Child’s Credit Reports?," Gerri Detweiler, accessed April 22, 2016

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