Have you ever thought that your child's identity can be stolen? Yes! believe me or not, this can be happen in our progressive technology oriented life. Hackers can easily find ways to steal your kid's identity by using sophisticated technology. According to the study by Carnegie Mellon's CyLab 2011, "Among 42,000 minors, 10 percent of children are victims of identity theft before they turn 18." Scammers can steal and may use your child's identity for their own use such as to get job, government benefits, medical care, utilities, loans, or a mortgage, etc. So as a parent you should teach and protect your kids.
Here are some guidelines parent should follow to protect their kids from fraudulent act by scammers.
How do you realize about your child's identity theft
- You find an existing financial account when you're trying to open one for your kids, and your application is repeatedly rejected for the poor credit history.
- If you notice any suspicious mail in your child's inbox such as pre-approved credit cards and other financial offers which are generally sent to adults.
- If a credit report already exists in your kid's name.
- The IRS sends a notice saying that you child is not able to pay taxes on income or he or she has no income.
Tips to protect a kid from scammers and hackers
1. Implement rules about social networking
Tell your kids that social network can be risky. This is actually a virtual world and oversharing can be harmful for them. Try to set a rule they must follow while doing social networking. Tell them not to share personal information such as date of birth, address, cell phone number and Social Security Number. Tell them not to share photo with all. Teach them how to access a social networking website using its privacy settings. Thus, they can stay away from scammers. Explain how scammer steal SSN and other information to open a credit card in their name and as a result they can be fall in debt at the very initial stage of career.
2. Take care of your child's SSN
Be sure your kids are old enough to understand their Social Security Number well and give them value. Try to keep their SSN until they are old enough to keep their SSN secured. Try not to carry your kid's SSN number in your wallet. Unless you are confident enough about the recipients, never share your child's SSN over the phone.
3. Be careful about your child's birth certificate
Be very careful when you're asked to submit your child's birth certificate as a proof of age. Never submit the original copy. Sometimes, your kid's extra curricular activity such as sports class, dance class or swimming class will ask for it. Try to make copy of the original certificate and submit it after showing to the reporting person.
4. Verify your child's credit report regularly
Checking your child's credit report is not as simple as checking your own credit report. The process is long and it takes time as you need to provide all documentation by mail or fax to prove that you are the parent of the child including copies of the child's birth certificate and Social Security card, a copy of your own ID and a list of the last few addresses for the child. But there are some websites where you can get free report from the three credit bureaus one time in a year.
5. Keep the PC virus free
Most of people, mainly kids lose their identity through cyber attacks. Always update the antivirus and antimalware programs in your computer. Try to teach your kids which websites are safe for online shopping. Tell them how to use Internet safely.
Share some safety mantra with your kids
At first share some fraud story as example with your child. Tell your kids about the risk factors - how careless usage of computer can be a reason of identity theft. Give them some simple tips such as:
- Always keep the password private
- Try to use strong and long password having more than 8 characters including numbers and symbols.
- Do not share the access details to anyone.
- Do no forget to update the antivirus on time.
- Never click to any suspicious mail in your spam box. Avoid checking popup message which is look like a form.
- Talk to your kids on a regular basis to get more updates. Give further assistance regarding privacy setting or computer knowledge.
- Guide them to decide which website is authentic and safe.
Lastly, inform police if your child becomes a victim of identity theft. File a police report immediately. Attach the victim's statement with it. Guide your kids as a friend. Your kids will surely follow your words.