02.03.2018

A Dad Stole This Toddler's Identity To Open Credit Cards. Here's How The System Failed Him.

KJ Barnaby Jr and his mom Trina Patterson KJ Barnaby Jr and his mom Trina Patterson Photo Courtesy Annie Tritt for BuzzFeed News

At just 4 years old, Kevin Barnaby Jr. has already had two Capital One credit card accounts, $941 in debt, and a $2,911 federal tax lien put on his credit reports. But Kevin, known in his family as KJ, isn’t a financial delinquent — one of his family members stole his identity.

KJ’s estranged father used the child’s social security number to open credit cards, racking up the debts before KJ’s third birthday, according to a December lawsuit and a BuzzFeed News review of the child’s April and May 2016 credit reports. KJ's mother, Trina Patterson, filed the suit in US District Court for the Southern District of New York; it alleges that three credit bureaus — Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax — violated fair credit reporting laws by distributing inaccurate credit information about KJ to creditors. Patterson also alleges the companies failed to ensure their credit reports’ accuracy and to investigate her disputes over the inaccurate information on KJ’s reports.

Patterson told BuzzFeed News the credit report showed the toddler’s father, Kevin Barnaby Sr., used the cards to buy his current wife an engagement ring. “It was hurtful,” she said. “I asked [him] to buy a car seat for [KJ] and [he] wouldn’t do it.”

For the full story, visit BuzzFeed.com/News.