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My 20 yr kid has no trade lines to produce a score so ATT asked for $500 dep?!

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(I apologize in advance for this being lengthy, but the whole ordeal just didn't sit right with me.. )

My youngest (20 yr old) still lives at home and because of college, just got his first *real* job about a month ago.
Last night we were looking at iPhones and decided now that he has a nice weekly paycheck and no bills that he would take advantage of getting one by committing to a 2 year plan.

The lady said she would have to pull his credit report and I mentioned that he has no credit, and she said that it was common with the younger ones to have to just pay $100 deposit if they don't have any credit.  She ran his credit and politely informed us that it was requesting a $500 deposit!!  He was so disappointed and I asked her if I could get the contract in my name for him and soon we walked out of the store, him a happy camper, and me believing someone had stolen his identity.


When we got home, we went to myfico but received an error that a score couldn't be created.  I then went to equifax (because this is who ATT apparently uses) and tried to pull his report and score.

You know the questions it some times asks to verify yourself?  Well all of them had very close answers, but none were accurate so we chose "none of the above" .   One of them said there might be a 5 year old mortgage in one of the following locations (cross streets to us, but we never lived on any of them, not to mention he would have had to be 15 years old to have a 5 year old mortgage on his credit report.


Then the next question said, the monthly mortgage payment on the loan above is (a, b, c, d,  e...).. the very lowest mortage was over $2,000 a month!  So now, I am REALLY thinking that someone has stolen his identity!. 

We clicked on submit and were taken to a page that said "one more step, we need to speak with you for the final verification and to please call one of their agents at the number provided.

So we did.  The agent was nice and asked all of these questions all over again and then simply said "we have nothing on you. You have no credit to report or anything to create a score from".  The Equifax agent also couldn't believe that my son was asked to pay a $500 deposit by AT&T because they would not have received any kind of score at all.


So what gives?  I mean really, I could see the $100 deposit with no established credit, but why did it throw out a $500 deposit for him?

And how can Equifax not have anything on him when the locations in the verification questions could practically be seen from our front door. (and I don't mean near the address we are at now, I mean an address we lived at a couple of years back when he was in middle school.


Does this sound normal to any of you, because it sure doesn't to me?!  (The Equifax agent did suggest we have him apply for a department store card to start building credit..)

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yeah, I was trying to cover a lot of points here, and agree with the theory that if they don't have anything on you, they can't be sure you exist, etc.


I dunno, something about the whole thing bothers me and I can't put my finger on it.  For them to not have any information on my kid, they sure hit close to home in their verification questions, only it was an area we lived about 5 years ago and nothing to do with our current address.  I just felt bad for him because the agent had just said kids with no credit usually get a $100 deposit and then when it came back a $500 deposit, she looks at us both, sort of like "no credit?, yeah right"!

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I'll add this for what it's worth:


Credit card companies fall all over themselves to get college kids to sign up for credit cards.

In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he applied for a regular card and got a $1000 limit straight away.


Another idea is to have him open an account at a local credit union and put money into an account for a few months.

Then sit with the manager and ask to open a credit card with them. It does a couple of things:


1. Has him responsibly save money.

2. Teaches him about building banking relationships.

3. Shows him that good credit = power that will last his entire life if managed properly.


Good Luck.

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  • 1 month later...

Thank you both for the advice.
(admin, I have lived places where they don't do credit checks on utilities, electric or land line type phones, water) The water/gas company will only charge a connection fee if you own the residence, but if you don't, they charge you the connection fee PLUS a NON-refundable fee of $100 if you are renting.  They say it's because renters move out leaving them with a bill so often,  but it seems like discrimination to me. Very unfair to renters.  It wouldn't be bad if they would return it like a deposit)

I have been busy the past month moving and just opened both checking & savings at Wells Fargo and I have heard they have secure visa cards that I may suggest to him also.


Thanks again

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  • 4 weeks later...

See pages 2 and 3 of this story for the interview with Judy Thomas.  She was being denied over and over for "lots of debt" that was not showing up at all on the credit report sent to her.  It even include someone else's debt.




Your son may be a victim of this kind of problem, where someone else's information is being provided to merchants.  If you can find a merchant that could "run a credit report" for your son and give it to him directly, this may help find the problem.  Don't use the online services as they are only be getting the consumer disclosure version.  If there is any info on the merchant version that is not in the consumer version, you may have a case against the CRA for fraud (contact an attorney).


And this problem very well could be caused by identity theft.

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It could be an error, or it could be that the provider doesn't like kids with no credit, either way, surf both things. A secure cc might work, or you could also add him as an authorized user to one of your cc and save him the deposit trouble, he doesn't need to even use the card it just needs to be reported on his credit.

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