Astonishing, but true.
Though college students are usually the ideal targets of the con artists, yet school students are not far left behind.
So, what can you do? Do we all have to thank our luck for not falling into prey or can we do anything for back-to-school identity theft protection?
The first step to secure your child’s identity is to be aware of the risks; only then, you can guard it.
Here are 6 ways to save your child from falling into prey of identity theft.
1 Give out SSN where it is absolute necessity
Have your kid seen you giving out your or your child’s SSN (Social Security Number) as soon as anyone asks for it? Hold on! You’re making a mistake. Your kid may follow the same.
Likewise, a youth soccer league or an after-school program usually won’t require your kid’s SSN.
So, if they ask for the number, you ask the reason and verify what security measures they are following to keep it safe.
2 Keep an eye on oversharing of student information
Often oversharing of information begins from home. Your kids can post sensitive details on social media. One of the common examples is mentioning pet names on social media, which are often asked as security questions, and it is also a popular password choice. So, educate your child about this.
Similarly, the school directories often share student information.
As per FERPA (Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act), schools need to notify the parents about the school’s directory policy.
According to Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment, the parents can view any surveys and/or instructional materials before they are distributed to the students. The parents also need to give permission before their children can participate in any analysis, evaluation or survey funded by Department of Education.
They also have to seek your permission to give out such information to third parties. You may opt not to allow your kid’s phone number, address, birth date, etc. to be shared to third parties.
3 Keep important documents under lock and key
If you child is staying in a dorm room, then you need to take extra caution, because such places are a storehouse of information. So, tell your kid to keep important documents (such as Social Security cards, back and credit card statements, checkbooks, driver’s license, or any other personally identifiable information (PII)) under lock and key, instead of keeping them in easily accessible desk drawers.
4 Give difficult passwords to smartphones and computers
It is our general tendency to keep important information in our computers and smartphones to access them easily. So, we need to ensure that we password protect these gadgets. Moreover, teach your children to give difficult passwords, which are not so easy to guess.
They should not give passwords comprising of the names of the kids and the parents along with birthdays and other dates, which a person knowing you or child will be able to guess.
5 Do not give out IDs to healthcare people in school
You may think that you need to provide your kid’s SSN if you need to go to a new health care provider for booster vaccinations. The kindergarten and middle school children may need such vaccinations.
So, it’s just a word of caution! Be aware and make the right decision.
6 Sign up for identity theft protection service
By opting for such a service, you can add one extra layer of protection. There are top-rated services offering protection to your minor children as well.
Doing so, you can be somewhat assured of protecting your kid’s identity, and in turn, it will help your child build credit from scratch as an adult.
Some more tips for better back-to-school identity theft protection
Ask your child, especially your college going kid, to do the following:
- Not to share computers - Inform your child not to share computers even with their roommates and to give strong alphanumeric passwords with special characters.
- Use cross-cut shredder - They should use it for every pre-approved offers. The fraudsters might search for the papers in the bin.
- Should not use open boxes for mailing - The US Postal Service drop boxes are more secured; so, it’s better to use them for mailing important documents.
- Always review statements - Doing so, your children will come to know if there’s any fraudulent activity in their accounts, and can take action immediately.
- Limit the use of GPS - using GPS services is good as you, the parent or guardian, as you can track where your child is. But, tell your kids to limit its use since it’s not necessary for the world to know their whereabouts.