This 9-Year-Old Has An $18,000 Line Of Credit

NOTE: As of March 2013, the embedded video that was the basis for this post is no longer functioning or available for embed. However, WAFB-TV still has text pertaining to the facts of the story, so you can read about it at if you’re still interested.

PREVIOUSLY: You’re Never Too Young To Have Your Identity Stolen


Edit Your Comment

  1. CreativeLinks says:

    That is just disturbing. Getting a credit card in this country has become WAY too easy.

  2. kris in seattle says:

    WTF? Damn, that is fucked up.

  3. banned says:

    How can that happen? The credit bureaus should be able to know how old you are w/ your SSN. If somebody is under 18, they’re not legally liable anyways, at least where I am at. Identity theft is not the problem, its all the holes in the whole credit and ID systems.

  4. banned says:

    Guess I should have watched the video first.
    ” Kyle is a victim of identity theft”
    Exactly where in the video does it say that Kyle is definately a victim of ID theft?????????????
    It is merely one of many possibilities. Love how consumerist likes to draw its own conclusions.
    The kid shouls destroy the cards but keep the accounts and a 0 balance so when he’s 18, he’ll have outstanding credit.

  5. @rocnrule: They should but they don’t care.

    If they let people open credit card accounts in their children’s (and pets’ and trees’) names then it isn’t that large a leap to send the cards to kids unsolicited.

  6. Falconfire says:

    @rocnrule: very easy. Likely said 9 year old shares either a name, or is a JR or III to someone who is of age.

    Thats how my fiancee’s sisters boyfriend had his credit DESTROYED by the time he was 14. His father used his sons name and they confused the SSN and info. So his father took out morgages and credit cards under the sons name and SSN while he himself wasnt even of age but SHOWED to be of the same age as his father.

    And even after showing this to them and trying to get it straightened out, he and his family are still paying for it over a year after his father committed suicide over the sheer amount of debt his father racked up.

    The only way your going to be able to fix this mess is to completely reform the system, which government officials will never do since they all get big payoffs to keep the system broken.

  7. enthreeoh says:

    That or max them out and he still starts clean at 18 heh.

  8. Xabora says:

    @Falconfire: Heh, that reminds me of the Simpsons episode The Canine Mutiny.

  9. timmus says:

    AOL says: “We’re sorry, the video clip you are trying to play is not available in your area.”

    Bullshit. I’m in east Texas. Consumerist: please do not use any more AOL News media, ok?

  10. hypnotik_jello says:

    What, no blame the victim comments yet? you guys are slacking!

  11. urban_ninjya says:

    I think they out to ban creditcard offers in the mail completely. They give out way too much information about you.

    You can’t just throw it straight away because it has your name and address on there, and it can be used in identity theft. And you can’t shred it either. There’s usually a fake plastic card in there that has your name on it. So I end up having to open the mail, cutting up the card by hand, then shredding the rest. All which is a big waste of time.

  12. Hoss says:

    I suspect the well-fed hamster

  13. beyond says:

    @urban_ninjya: Get a better shredder.

  14. jeffeb3 says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation:
    Aren’t people getting a card in their kids name just giving them permission to use their credit card? Instead of actually opening an account using their SSN. Parents will sign up for a credit card, and ask for a second card in the child’s name. That’s the only way to do it.

    She was worrying about him destroying his credit? I’d be worried about what exactly he would buy. $18,000 buys you enough power to cause some damage.

  15. enm4r says:

    What’s to stop me from (when possible) trying to scam the sytem to get a card in my kids name, running it up, then pointing out the fact that they were under 18, and not even legally capable of entering the contract?

    It can’t be as simple as “kids aren’t liable for the credit” or you’d have people doing that all the time.

  16. @jeffeb3: I can’t imagine that in the instance where the tree was issued a credit card the guy put his SSN on the application before writing “Don’t Waste Trees” but, unfortunately, the Snopes article doesn’t say.

  17. Sudonum says:

    I believe what you are proposing is commonly know as “fraud”.

  18. mac-phisto says:

    i got this kid beat hands down. i had a sears charge account 7 years before i was born, my first mortgage when i was 2, my second when i was 9 & my third when i was 14. i also had a $20,000 chemical bank credit line when i was 12.

    now that’s credit history! unfortunately, when my dad passed away, i was also showing as deceased. it only took 3 years & about 6 rounds of correspondence to fix that.

    @enm4r: the kid isn’t legally responsible b/c s/he is not old enough. the parent, however, would be engaging in a whole load of criminal activity by opening credit lines under their child’s name with the intention of nonpayment. that’s probably what stops it from happening.

  19. The Bigger Unit says:

    Like the Notorious B.I.G. once said: “That god damn credit? Get it. You think a crackhead payin’ ya back? Shit, forget it.”

  20. theblackdog says:

    I had a credit card when I was -3 years old. My dad and I have similar names and somehow his gas card which he got in 1979 was listed on my credit report, yet I was born in 1982. I actually disputed this and the company came back and said it was correct, so we just let it go.

  21. banned says:

    Why does consumerist continously send me to this post instead of the most recent???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  22. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @rocnrule: Because it hates you.

  23. DTWD says:

    @urban_ninjya: Kill it with fire.

  24. fashionista says:

    @enm4r: Actually, people do get credit in their child(ren)’s name all the time. Its pretty easy to do, especially with utility companies and revolving credit. Its unfortunate that a whole generation of children are coming into adulthood with jacked up credit through no fault of their own.

  25. strathmeyer says:

    Capital One still won’t give me more than $3000. And when I ask for more, they say don’t take such requests, but instead review accounts “regularly” and make increases when necessary.

  26. Michael says:

    @timmus: And I’m not in the US, so I can’t see the video at all.

    If you don’t want non-American readers, Consumerist, let us know and we’ll leave.

  27. Christovir says:

    I would like to second the posts by timmus and michael. I’m living in the UK and AOL videos will not display here. Great job AOL. I cannot think of what logical reason there could be for going to the extra effort to ban viewers outside of the US (and East Texas, apparently.)

  28. mst3kzz says:

    I’m not really seeing where this is such a bad thing, I mean considering she intercepted it, not her son. She could just lock the card up in a safe. All it will do is help his credit if it is never used. He will have 2 nine year old accounts when he finally reaches the age that most people can apply for any kind of credit. If I had > $18k in unused revolving credit right now, it would seriously reduce my debt ratio. Just keep him away from the cards and teach him to be financially responsible!

  29. Consumer-X says:

    Even if kids get offers for credit in the mail they are not real offers.
    An offer is determined using an objective standard. If an offer is made to a 4 y/o child, then using an objective standard, the offer is obviously a mistake. The objective person would know that a 4y/o can’t legally own a credit card in his/her name. Thus there is no true offer to accept. It is irrelevant if the person receiving the “offer” honestly thought it was legitimate.

  30. mac-phisto says:

    @Christovir: i would gladly trade you the whole of AOL for an inkling of the UK-exclusives on BBC.

  31. Christovir says:

    @mac-phisto: Hey, I’m not giving that up! You can keep the AOL. ;)

    I’m sure you can use UK-based proxies to download BBC stuff. I think there is info about that at

  32. ZonzoMaster says:

    @Michael: @Christovir: I can see the video (Mexico).

  33. @CreativeLinks: Fake ID and you can get anything you want practically.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Oh wow! This is unreal! I am going to link to this story from my new website at: to help people learn about the dangers of identity theft and importance of protecting oneself through knowledge, habit changes, and so on.