Identity Theft: Protecting Kids from Being the Target

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How can I protect my kids from being targeted by identity thieves?

Identity Theft: Protecting Kids from Being the Target

Most of the advice we get about identity theft protection is directed at adults. Fair enough. We're the ones holding the credit cards that attract the most prevalent type of identity theft crime – credit card fraud. But thieves don't necessarily see it that way. Kids are ‘fair game' to identity thieves, especially online.

Parents already worry about online predators trying to lure children and teens out into the open. But precautions against identity theft ploys should also be on the top of the list of concerns. Many kid-friendly sites are social sites where they go to meet new friends, communicate with current friends and talk about where they “hang” and what they do. But the innocent sharing of names, addresses, birth dates, and other personal information makes a predominantly kid populated website a great phishing hole for identity thieves.

What can you do? Web filters and security software may be able to prevent kids from accessing certain websites, but it can't stop them from freely sharing information. In additional to external identity theft solutions:

  • Teach kids about privacy. Even very young children can understand the basics of privacy. If children are old enough to find their way around the Internet, they're old enough to understand that the Internet is a very public place and personal information must be kept private.
  • Make a rule that your child needs parental permission before entering any personal information into a web form. There will be occasions when it's okay for kids to give out information such as signing up for an e-zine or to access free online games and puzzles. Just make sure they know they need to ask your permission to do so first.



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Linda Handiak