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Ask Dave

Kids and Credit Cards

Margie says her children received credit card offers in the mail. Is it legal, and is there anything they can do about it?

QUESTION: Margie on Facebook says her children received credit card offers in the mail. Is it legal, and is there anything they can do about it?

ANSWER: It’s legal. It’s just stupid. Honestly, the credit card company screwed up. They’ve got a database glitch. You can let them know. You could call them and chew them out, if you want to, just for fun. But they’re not going to stop.

Basically, they’re so aggressive that they offer children, dead people and dogs and cats credit cards. I actually got a copy of an offer that was sent out by one of the major credit card companies, and it’s made out to Toby Cocker. Sounds like a rock star, doesn’t it? Yeah, but it’s not. It’s Toby the Cocker Spaniel. This guy’s dog actually got an offer. They picked up the database wrong off of the registration for the puppy or whatever it was and send the dog a credit card offer. That’s how stupid they are.

This is why we have an industry that’s out of control and why you people have to install some common sense in your lives, and you go, “Look, if they’re that stupid, I’m not doing business with them in any dad gum way whatsoever.”

I don’t know how you can block them being stupid. You can freeze your child’s credit report. When ours were minors, we froze them, and that just keeps anybody from getting into the credit report. It won’t keep them from making the offer though because they seldom check a credit bureau report before they make the offer.

Again, the industry’s just stupid. It’s out of control. The aggressive marketing of credit as a product . . . Debt is one of the most aggressively marketed products in our culture today. The extreme aggressive nature of it has caused them to just go crazy. I mean, they’re just nuts. You don’t want anything to do with this stuff. You want to stay completely away from organizations and companies that act that way. That’s why I don’t do anything with Bank of America or Chase or Capital One. What’s in your wallet? Money! Not you people. Unbelievable. You just have to stop, and you have to think. How many times have credit cards made somebody rich? Never! So stay away from them.

It makes a real good teaching moment for an 11- and a 14-year-old. You could sit down and have a real speech at the kitchen table and show them the stupidity of these companies. This is how parents who are unscrupulous—who are morons, in other words—end up stealing their own child’s identity because they’ll turn around and apply for that card in the kid’s name, take the card, use it, and then the kid wakes up at 29 years old and is married and finds out that Dad stole his identity when he was 11 because Citibank sent them a stinking credit card offer at 11 years old. Well, and because Dad’s scum in that case. There’s a one-two punch there that just can’t be beat.