Parents can help protect children's credit under new Minnesota law

Starting with the new year, Minnesota joins dozens of other states with a new law designed to protect kids from a future of bad credit.

“We barely check our on credit as adults, we would never think about checking our children’s credit,” said Representative John Petersburg, R – Waseca.

Representative Petersburg, who helped craft the bill last session, says a law to protect the financial future of Minnesota children was long overdue. Up until now, Minnesota did not have any laws that prevented children under 16 from being victims of identity theft.

“What the law does is it allows parents or guardians to be able to protect their children’s credit history by going to the three credit agencies and having them create the report and then freeze it,” said Rep. Petersburg.

A federal law took effect in the fall, which goes even further to help minors preserve their credit. FOX 9 spoke with a mother in Big Lake in November whose 15-year-old son appeared to have his identity stolen after an incident at a metro hospital. At the time, she said he was being inundated with calls and texts saying he was pre-approved for home mortgages and car loans.

Rep. Petersburg says studies show children as young as four can have their social security number stolen and parents never know until years later.

“For some kids, it could mean having to wait before they can go to college because they can’t qualify for the loans or grants that they need to do in order to go to college,” he said.

There is no annual fee for parents to do this, but it does require a pin or password provided by the credit agencies for the parents to maintain until the child is old enough to start building credit on their own.