We get a bunch of junk mail to our house regularly that isn’t quite right. Some we very regularly get are my father’s first name and middle initial (though my husband shares my dad’s first name but not middle initial), with our last name and a Jr. tacked on the end (neither my dad nor husband are Jr.’s), my brother-in-law’s name, my in-law’s names, and my name spelled with one N and a different middle initial. Some we can kind of figure out – my brother-in-law gifted a magazine subscription to us once with billing in his name and some of those are subscription offers, and I probably processed a donation my in-laws made for my kids and used my address since most of those letters are fundraiser solicitations.
But for the past 6 years my now 10 year old daughter has been getting regular Miracle Ear and other hearing aid advertisements and tourism brochures targeted to senior citizens, and a few times she has received credit card applications. Sometimes I’ll call the hearing aid people, it’s often local private offices, and ask where they got their marketing list from, they almost always claim it is their personal list of costumers and not a purchased list. They act shocked that they are mailing to an 8 year old!
You can imagine I have worried about her information being part of an identity theft scheme. Every few months we (along with everyone else) receive information that our personal information has been compromised through some account. Recently, I read through all of the information sent and protection programs offered and decided to check my credit score which I hadn’t done in a few years. I had heard it was a giant pain to check a minor’s score, a cost was involved and it was not worth it since likely there was nothing or it might cause flags or something else, so I never did it. I have also been a little scared the results may show tens of thousands owed by my daughter.
But it turns out none of the rumors I heard or fears I had hold any truth. Aside from postage (the application cannot be processed online like adults), the process was free, wasn’t difficult and allegedly will put no flags or additional risk for the kids. I had to print out and copy a few forms (utility bill, birth certificate, my driver’s license sort of thing). I mailed in the forms for all three of my children in one envelope to Experian and got a letter back a couple weeks later saying (thankfully) there are no credit records for any of the kids. Easy.
It’s probably best to check with a credit or financial professional before doing anything with your child’s name, but if you were thinking the process was scary, difficult or involved, it wasn’t.
My daughter does have what some call an “old fashioned” name. Maybe this is what got her on an old deaf world traveler targeted mailing lists? I don’t think we’ll ever know.