It’s easy for parents to overlook the idea that their teenage kids might become the victims of identity theft. Since people from a young age often have good credit ratings, criminals and thieves take advantage of this by targeting teenagers. This is true whether a young man or woman is in high school or college. The sad truth of the matter is, it’s only going to get worse as young people use social media and other outlets to talk about their day-to-day lives. With this in mind, here are three tips to help a teenager avoid ID theft.
Talk to them about social media: As mentioned, if your son or daughter is constantly on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, they are probably sharing information with the entire world. This is true whether one shares information on a private account or public one as people can hack this and find out what your child talks about. Since kids often mention their full names, birthdays and other information, it’s easy for a hacker to access this information with ease. To avoid issues, you need to sit down with your child and show them how to lock down their accounts and protect their information. To take it further, also advise them to avoid adding too many friends as criminals often exploit this by adding random strangers. Finally, if your child is one to share a lot of information, advise them against this as it’s easy for him or her to protect their identity when they provide minimal information.
Avoid offers: Once a child is old enough to go to college, he or she will receive plenty of credit card offers in the mail. While this seems beneficial in the long run, it’s not. In fact, when your child begins to receive credit card offers, you need to take notice and take action. If you have a kid who is not in the area, make sure to destroy his or her credit card offers. To take this a step further, take your child off the do not contact list. Then, he or she won’t receive offers in the mail. When this happens, you are taking a major tool away from criminals that want to steal your child’s mail and use the information to open accounts in his or her name.
Teach them how to pull, and read, their credit report: All-too-often, a young person will not know how to read his or her credit report. This is a pity as you will want your teenager to understand the pitfalls and drawbacks of credit. To get started, you should help them open a free account at one of the many companies offering credit reporting services. Then, you can help him, or her understand the process. When your teenager knows about credit reports and everything that they entail, you will go a long way in helping him or her avoid serious problems in the future and protecting their identities.
With these three simple and common sense tips, your teenager can avoid heaving his or her identify stolen by a criminal or thief. Remember, with a proactive approach, your son or daughter will not become a victim.