Starting Friday, Oregon parents and guardians will have a new tool to protect their children's credit history from identity thieves.
The Oregon Department of Consumer & Business Services said in a news release that parents will be able to put a security freeze on their children's credit files. It's an option adults have had since 2007 because of the Oregon Consumer Identity Protection Theft Act. The security freeze prevents anyone who has stolen a person's personal information from opening a new account or borrowing money with the swiped data.
Parents and guardians can create a protected record for the minor by going through the Equifax, Experian or TransUnion credit agencies. There is no cost to create the protected record, but each credit reporting agency requires a $10 fee to freeze the record.
The freeze is in effect until the child turns 18. They can then delete the protected if they wish. The record cannot be used in a credit decision, but it can be used for background checks for employment or apartment rental, the release said.
A study by Javelin Strategy and Research showed 1 in 40 U.S. households with minors experienced child identity theft. In some cases, the parents committed the crime.
Find more information about protecting credit records at www.dfcs.oregon.gov/id_theft.html.