Confessions of a Millennial Burnout Parent
I’m a Millennial and I suffer from a mild case of errand paralysis.
(See “How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation”)
I have a stack of mail containing things I’ve been intending to look at and handle for the last 3 months occupying a corner of my kitchen counter. It gets stashed in a cabinet whenever people come over. It gets reviewed and purged every few months, and usually creeps back into existence within a week after a purge. I also have a to do list in Asana that has things on it from 2015. Apparently those are the things that just never became important enough to finish.
For a lot of people, freezing their child’s credit falls clearly into that same category of things you might find on my kitchen counter or on my 2015 Asana to do list. I’m pretty sure I know why, which I’ll get to in a minute.
I recently mustered energy to apply for my kids’ credit freezes after reading a horrifying Facebook post from a college acquaintance who I met once and probably have not spoken with for around 15 years. Luckily we’ve got Facebook to preserve those ever-important bonds.
Anyway, somebody had used the social security number of her 5-year-old son and opened a bunch of accounts over several years, and recently defaulted on loans. The onus fell on her to get this cleaned up. It’s a stressful and maddening crime. The lenders trying to collect didn’t know the person was actually a 5-year-old because they don’t verify date of birth when they pull credit upon opening an account. They just make sure the name matches the social security number. It turns out, this couldn’t have happened if the child’s credit had been frozen. There’s pretty widespread consensus that freezing credit is a no-brainer, must-do task for parents with young kids.
So, after letting this sit for a while, I finally got started. I found a few different resources online, and began printing out forms, collecting documents, and filling everything out by hand.
I had several clumsy failures along the way.
- Two of the credit bureaus had recently stopped accepting faxes. The fax numbers I found online no longer worked. Of course they didn’t work. Who faxes?
- Two of the credit bureaus didn’t have updated online process instructions. They had changed the requirements and didn’t bother to publish their new instructions on their page. I had to follow the process they outlined on the phone. Lucky me, I bothered to call to confirm before sending everything. Calling them was worse than calling Comcast in the early 2000s. Oh yeah, and remember to check their call center hours!
- I ran out of toner. Better re-order. Thanks Amazon.
- I didn’t have envelopes that worked. My documents had too many pages to fit into a normal sized letter envelope when all folded up. Better swing by Staples.
- I ran out of stamps. Then I realized I actually needed more stamps because my letters were more than 1 oz. Stop 2, the post office.
Eventually, after about 2 weeks of fumbling missteps, it all came together and I got all 6 letters produced and mailed, then received my freeze confirmations about 10 days later.
If you work in an office, you might want to come in early or stay late and do this there, but that requires a bit of awkward creeping around whilst holding your most sensitive documents to your chest.
Everyone is welcome to do it the way I did it. Hopefully, it will go more smoothly for you. I know you will get through it. But, fair warning, it’s a drag.
Fortunately for you all, I took what I learned, and turned this whole process into one simple form you can fill out on your phone in a few minutes. You can scan or attach your documents right on the electronic form, hit submit, and you are done. You can do this in the privacy of your own home and on any schedule that works for you. You can take comfort in the fact that we really don’t want your documents, so we delete them immediately after we send in your applications.
Lastly, if you purchase the service from us, we’ll gently nudge you to submit your paperwork until you’ve actually done it. It’s actually a nice commitment device to make sure this won’t sit on your 2019 to do list until 2023.
Be an adult. Freeze your kids’ credit. Now.