When we think about credit cards, we usually think of our own – what we use them for, how our credit is doing, and most importantly, that they remain in our hands and not in that of a cybercriminal. But something many parents forget – the cyberthreats that could potentially impact our financial information could very well impact our children’s, given they have credit cards of their own. As a matter of fact, there’s a new law that helps parents with exactly that – protecting their kids’ credit, amongst a few other things. It’s called the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act, and it takes effect on September 21st of this year.
So, what does this law mean for parents and their kids? With this law, free credit freezes will be available for anyone – including children under the age of 16 – in the country (currently, there may be fees depending on state laws). That way, if a cybercriminal tries to open up an account with a minor’s information, the impacted family can freeze that account immediately. Additionally, it will extend fraud alerts from 90 days to a full year.
As a result of this law, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion will each set up a web page for requesting fraud alerts and credit freezes. The FTC will also post links to those web pages on IdentityTheft.gov.
So, with this law coming into effect in no time, what next steps should parents take to reap its benefits? Start by following these tips:
- Find out if your child has a credit report. First and foremost, head here and go to the ‘Child Identity Theft’ section. It will have instructions on how to find out if your child has a credit report. Most young children shouldn’t have credit files, but if they do, the page includes contact information for credit agencies and advice on how to freeze credit.
- Keep the record of freezes in a safe place. If you do have to freeze a credit report, keep the records stored in a safe place. Make sure your family can find it when needed, and a crook can’t access it.
- Invest in an identity theft monitoring and recovery solution. The best way to protect you or a family member from identity theft is by being proactive. That’s precisely why you should leverage a solution tool such as McAfee Identity Theft Protection, which allows users to take a proactive approach to protecting their identities with personal and financial monitoring and recovery tools to help keep their identities personal and secured.