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The quickest way to make a hash of your neatly frozen files is to misplace the personal identification number that the credit bureaus give you. But credit freezes are the best tool we have to protect ourselves and our children from many kinds of identity fraud.
You will need to provide the PIN when temporarily or permanently thawing your own file or when your child wants to do it some day many years from now. Given how imperfect the security systems are that protect our data from the bad guys, I see no reason not to take advantage of free tools that can make us all a little bit safer.
But he also said that plenty of people mailed these kinds of documents to the government, health care organizations and the courts, and that the company had a secure post office box that was not at risk for theft. I blew off the instructions just to see what would happen. Just to be sure, I circled back to Equifax and Trans Union about the addresses, and both companies say your request won’t be misdirected if you leave “freeze” out of the address. It wasn’t clear to me, either, so I tried it both ways with different bureaus — separate envelopes to two and one envelope to the third — and both approaches worked.
Thanks to a new federal law, free credit freezes are available to everyone from your infant to your great-grandmother.
And on the first day that kiddie freezes (and here, kids are 15 and under) were mandated, I froze the files of my two daughters just to see how badly things would go. But I had some questions for the credit reporting companies, and I tried to anticipate the things that might confuse you, too.
Most people aren’t in the habit of monitoring their children’s credit, which gives thieves more time to do their work.
Plus, kids tend not to have black marks in their credit files yet — another enticing feature for thieves.
You’ll probably be told that your teenager does not have a credit file yet and that you’ll have to mail in much or all of the same identifying information that you would have to send if your child were 12.