It started with a simple request...

Honey, will you please freeze the boys' credit?

My wife was scrolling her Facebook feed a few months ago and came across a troubling post from a distant acquaintance. She warned: 

Hey parents out there, we just found out Alex's identity has been stolen and there are numerous fraudulent credit cards and loans created in his name. We're handling it, but what a clusterf*** pain in the ass. Let this serve as a reminder to you to freeze your kids' credit.
This was our wake up call. I knew we were supposed to do this before reading the post, but as busy parents, we had never prioritized getting it done.
In search of reassurance, I asked a few colleagues if they had done it. As expected, I received a guilt-ridden 'not yet' from the two people I consider to be most highly organized and on top of this sort of thing. 

Hmmmm.. if these guys haven't even done this for their kids, what's going on here?

I began researching how to do it. I found tons of articles from reputable sources about why it was important to do. I learned it had recently become free to freeze credit under a new federal law. This is clearly something everyone should do. There is simply no excuse. Yet, when I asked other parents in my network, I was unable to find a single person who had actually done it.

So, I set off to be the first.

I found each of the websites of the major credit bureaus, located the relevant forms, read them and figured out everything I needed to collect to be able to submit the paperwork. I collected the set of verification documents and made the 3 copies of each one for each child, printed off the credit bureau's forms, filled out all the information by hand (6 forms for 2 kids), hand-addressed all six of the envelopes, wrote the required cover letter, and compiled it into 6 submission packets. 

I then carefully reviewed each one, re-reading each bureau's requirements carefully to ensure I didn't get myself caught in a bureaucratic trap. I also called each credit bureau and discovered some inconsistencies between what was published online and what they told me via phone. There's a lot of minutiae in these. Anyone who's ever closed a mortgage will understand.  I was nervous that even a thorough attempt to carefully follow instructions might result in my applications getting disqualified due to some technicality.

I ended up re-doing everything and made a few document swaps to eliminate some risks I thought of while reviewing - pretending to be a scrupulous bureaucrat looking for reasons to reject my own applications. After carrying my submission packs around for 5 days - reviewing them in my spare time before the kids wake up and after they go to bed - I finally decided to put them in their envelopes, and mailed them. Dear God, please let this process be over! I now get why no one actually does this!

The entrepreneur in me knew it was time to make this supposedly "free" process fast and easy. Everyone I talked to told me they planned to freeze their kids credit. But, I posited that no one wants to spend the mental energy I expended figuring it out (plus all the additional energy worrying about whether they had actually done it correctly).

And that is how this quick little administrative task my wife asked me to handle turned into Credit Parent.

 

Ready to get started?
Yes, Let's go get it done

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