Credit offer sent to eight-year-old daughter

Dear Experian,

Is there a way to run a credit check on my daughter? Yesterday she received an application for a credit card. This shocked me because she is only eight years old? I do have a saving account open for her with a national lender. Would this have caused the credit to be established?



Dear NNI,

You can request a copy of a credit report for your child at https://www.experian.com/fraud/center.html. Simply click on “Minor child instructions” under the “Information you should know” heading and follow the instructions provided.

If there is a credit record on file we will provide it to you. If not, you will receive a notice stating that we have no record on file. The second situation is preferable because it means your daughter’s identifying information has not been used to apply for credit. However, since the application was mailed to the correct address, it would not appear to be fraud.

Take a close look at the offer you received in her name. It may be “an invitation to apply” rather than a “prescreened offer.” The difference is important.

An “invitation to apply” is exactly that. The lender is extending an offer in your daughter’s name to apply for an account, but no credit history review has been done. It may be associated with the savings account you opened in her name, especially if the lender does not have a birth date associated with the account. Or your daughter might be on another type of membership list, such as a frequent flier list, which could cause a company to invite her to check out their services.

A “prescreened offer” is extended after a credit history review has been conducted and the individual meets the lender’s qualifications for the extension of credit. If the credit history does not change by the time she responds to the offer, then she is approved. If she received a prescreened or preselected offer it would suggest a credit history has been established using your daughter’s identifying information.

If a credit history exists for her, Experian will be able to help you take steps to prevent its use for fraud and address any existing activity that indicates potential identity theft.

Thanks for asking.

- The “Ask Experian” team

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