As you probably know, identity thieves are relentless. They will try every possible trick to steal an identity and destroy someone’s credit. You might think they would choose to avoid children out of some shred of remaining decency. You would be wrong. Children are ideal targets for these ruthless criminals, and they are being targeted at an alarming rate. After all, the theft may go undetected for up to eighteen years and only be discovered when the child applies for their first loan. Here are a few ways that you can help protect your children from identity theft.
Watch what your child is doing online. Start by looking over their shoulder from time to time. Be sure to set a few rules for while they are online. These rules should include: never let a child buy anything online alone, never open emails from a stranger, and never click on pop-up ads. Do not be afraid to use parental controls to block websites.
Limiting Social Media Sharing
Facebook and other social media sites have been a goldmine for identity thieves. People overshare personal information on a regular basis. Children are even more apt to do so. Personal information like birthday, address, phone number, school, or social security numbers should never be shared online. All an identity thief needs is a name and the last four of an SSN to start receiving your personal mail.
Contact the major credit reporting agencies every couple of years to see if your child has a credit report. No report means no problem. If there is one, get a copy to see what is going on and correct any issues. Identity theft can be as basic as having a telephone in your child’s name or as insidious as credit card debt or repossessions.
Educating Your Kids Early
Talk to your children about money and identity theft. Knowledge is the lynch-pin of life. If you do not know what to say, then try ftc.gov/idtheft. Kids are beginning to use the internet at younger and younger ages. It’s not uncommon to see a toddler tapping away on an iPad. For this reason, it’s best to start educating your kids as early as you can.
Identity theft can be very difficult to recover from. Imagine trying to fix credit issues that date back more than a decade. Educating your children about the dangers that lurk everywhere they look on the internet is a great start toward a more secure credit future. Hopefully, they will come to understand the importance of constant vigilance.
This article has been provided on behalf of PreApprovalAutoLoan.com, a service that helps people apply for auto credit safely and securely online.