Monitoring your children’s activities is easier when they’re young; you walk them to the park, watch them play and drop them off at the bus stop each morning. But when your son or daughter becomes a teenager, it’s much harder to protect them from external dangers, like identity theft. The good news is there are plenty of opportunities to speak with your teen about this crime and ways they can protect themselves.
When Your Teen Signs Up For Facebook or Twitter
Social networking websites are a popular portal identity thieves use to befriend unsuspecting members and monitor their information. Talk to your children about limiting the amount of personal details listed on their profile pages. Restricting information such as date of birth, address and place of employment will make it more difficult for criminals to piece together enough tidbits of data to commit identity theft.
When Your Teen Leaves for College
Living in a college dormitory can be a great student experience, but they also need to be cognizant of the people around them. Make sure there is a bank near the school where your teen might store personal information, such as their Social Security card and birth certificate, in a safety deposit box. It may sound like a lecture, but remind them to lock their door when they are not in the room and password-protect their computers in case anyone tries to look at their account information.
When Your Teen Begins Using a Credit Card
You may be considering whether to allow your teens to obtain a credit card in their name or utilize an existing credit account, so that they may begin building a credit history. Use this as an opportunity to speak with your children about protecting their personal financial details and the implications identity theft can have on a person’s credit report and score. Teach your teen to review his or her credit card statements for suspicious information. Advise your teen against lending the credit card to a friend or leaving it out in the open.
Having a dialogue with teens about identity theft will make them more aware of their surroundings and prompt them to better protect their information. You may fear coming off as a nagging parent, but knowing your teen is educated on the crime will give you more piece of mind.