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There is a solution if your child took out credit in your name

If your teen has run up a credit card that they did not let you know they had, all may not be lost. Debts accrued by those under the age of 18 may not be enforceable by law, which can help save your child from having damaged credit before understanding what that even means.

Here's an example. If your 14-year-old child sees a letter for a preapproved MasterCard and applies for it, you may not realize that he has taken it out in your name. You might only find out when you see that there is a bill that you don't recognize. At that point, you could think it's fraud, only to find out that your child was the one who opened the account.

Are you going to be liable for the charges? No. You didn't make the purchases, so, technically, the purchases were fraudulent. Minors can't be held to contracts, but they can be held accountable by the courts. In this case, your son might be liable for the balance and face criminal charges for fraud.

Generally speaking, a credit card company won't try to collect the debt from a minor, but it could take your son to court. If you want to avoid this scenario, a better option might be to close the account and focus on paying it down in other ways.

For example, if your child has made purchases like clothing, check to see which items still have tags and can be returned. If items can't be returned, attempt to sell them or make your child work to pay you for them. This is a lesson that might be hard to teach, but it is far less damaging that facing criminal charges.

If you've found yourself in this position, you may want to consult with a professional before you decide which steps to take. Credit card debt can be difficult to deal with, and if you don't address this right away, it could damage or affect your credit. Our site has more about credit debt and what you can do to eliminate it.

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