As indicated by research conducted by Experian, before the age of 18 at least 25% of children will be a victim of child identity fraud or theft.
As children grow up, it is their responsibility to make sure they are making safe decisions online to safeguard themselves. As Mother’s Day approaches it is the perfect time to remind kids as they gather for this event, that protecting their confidential information is a must.
It’s important to explain to teens that thieves are targeting them for their information. Experian has shown in their statistics for identity theft, posted just this year, that 13,852 complaints of theft were received from the Federal Trade Commission in 2017 that affected kids and youths all under the age of 19. Children are a target because they have a spotless record and their information is easy to use. Most parents do not notice that their child’s information has been stolen until years later, all the while thieves are opening lines of credit, mortgages, auto loans and credit cards under their name. Explain to kids what personal information the crooks are after (Social Security/Insurance number, name, address, mobile number, email, passwords, birth date, school, and any identifying account number). They should never share this information with anybody on the web, over their mobile phone, on a survey they take, or face to face, without understanding how this information will be used. Ensure they don't post pictures online of anything that shows confidential information like a boarding pass or new driver's license.
Teenagers invest a considerable amount of their energy and time today shopping, socializing, and sharing on social networks like Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Experian announced that 93% of teenagers ages 15 to17 have mobile access to the web through a phone, tablet or other devices. It's imperative to ensure every one of these gadgets is protected by IT safeguards such as anti-virus, anti-spam, and firewalls. It’s important that they don’t share private information when utilizing public Wi-Fi and only download from trustworthy sources (or else they could be downloading viruses and malware). They should use physical safeguards as well, and never leave devices unattended.
Keep in mind that criminals utilize social media sites to study their targets. Educate your teenager to keep away from over-sharing on social media, and not to post or share their full name, birthday and/or their account numbers. Show them that there are fake sites out there too (links to counterfeit 'fan sites' or 'free stuff' often are malicious). In the event that they are asked to download a plug-in or application to watch a video, make sure they think twice (something dreadful may accompany it) and only accept social media friend requests from individuals they know personally. Becoming friends with a con artist could enable them to spam their timeline, tag them in posts, and send nasty messages.
Teach teenagers to make long, hard passwords (a mix of unique and random numbers and letters) and not to share them with others. Make sure they never re-use passwords (this makes it simple for hackers to take) and think about getting a password manager.
Parents ought to be good role models, and should keep the home and office clutter-free. Lock entryways and windows, utilize a burglar alarm and keep important files in a safe. Securely destroy confidential information – on paper or stored on hard drives – that is no longer needed.