Today’s parents are faced with a new obstacle – technology. Teenagers seem to know everything about the newest gadgets on the market, and they know their way around the internet as if it were their second home. Though your teens may be able to troubleshoot a technology problem that you wouldn’t even know was a problem, you can still teach them an important lesson when it comes to safety on the internet.
Why Teenagers Are at Risk
Internet scammers seek out young people for a couple of reasons. Most young adults are inexperienced when it comes to scams. Also, a teenager has a clean credit history, which an identity thief looks for when scoping out a potential victim.
Scammers target teenagers because they are naïve about the world; they don’t want to believe there are people who want nothing more than to use and abuse them. Your child’s easy ability to trust someone could be their downfall.
Popular Scams Aimed at Teenagers
While there are some scams that are easily identified – winning a laptop, for example – some are more difficult to detect. Scammers either emphasize things that teenagers are extremely interested in, or they highlight the vulnerabilities of a teen. Here are some of the most popular scams targeted for teenagers.
College Scholarships or Grants
Many kids feel pressured while looking for college scholarships. Post high school education can be fairly pricey, and teenagers realize that. Most high school students will apply for any and every scholarship they can. While it is horrible to think that anyone would ever scam a young adult while they are seeking higher education, it happens all of the time.
Talent or Modeling Agencies
This could perhaps be the number one scam targeted at teenagers. At their age, most teens are insecure and vulnerable, just wanting to be accepted for who they are. As sad as it is, many teens are approached each year by these so-called “talent agencies” who claim they will make your child a star. In reality, these people want nothing more than a few paychecks, and then you will most likely never hear from them again.
Summer or Part-Time Job Opportunities
Finding a job is though for everyone these days, including teenagers. Scammers know that teens have little experience in job searches, making them a prime target for fake job opportunities. Some scammers will have a teen pay money for job leads, insist they buy an item that will guarantee them a job, or offer a wage that is too high for an inexperienced teen. Young adults should steer clear of companies that have only one telephone number and a P.O. Box, rather than an actual address.
Competitions or Awards
These sorts of scams usually target high school juniors and seniors. One day, your teenager may get a letter from someone claiming to be part of a nationally credited organization – like an honors program. These letter will ask for a fee of about 50 to 100 dollars, in exchange for a membership for your child. These scammers say their organization will look good on college applications, but these fake groups have no effect on your child’s resumes or applications.
How to Keep Your Child Safe
Though you may try, there is no way to monitor everything your child does on the internet. The best thing you can do is to simply sit down with your children, and explain the different types of scams, along with their consequences, that he or she may encounter.
Hannah Greiman works for eConsumerServices, sharing tips about online scams and internet fraud. She hates to admit that teenagers and young adults are the most commonly targeted age group. By providing education to these individuals, Hannah hopes to help stop fraud before it happens.