Preventing Identity Theft

security-lockIdentity theft is often associated with adults who may have lost their savings to criminals. When most people think of identity theft, teenagers don’t typically come to mind. Criminals, however, are targeting school aged children and seizing the opportunity to ruin their credit even before they hit high school. Summertime seems like the perfect time to do so, because it’s a prime opportunity for criminals to gain access to information since school is out and kids tend to spend more time online without supervision. The younger you are, the more vulnerable you are.

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act that was passed in 2000 was reviewed by the Federal Trade Commission and now enforces that parents must give their consent to websites before they can collect or use any personal information provided by a minor under the age of 13. However, many people don’t understand that a lot of credit card companies and credit issuers don’t always verify the age of the applicant, meaning that someone can use your identity to take out loans or open up bank accounts.

Here are some tips to help you avoid or lower your risk of becoming a victim of identity theft.

  • DON’T share your password with anyone except your parent(s) or guardian(s), not even friends!
  • Choose a password made up of combination of letters and numbers, but don’t use your birth date, phone number, address, or any other identifying information.
  • DON’T input your full name, birthday, address, or any other identifying information on social media sites.
  • NEVER input your social security number on a website unless approved by your parent or guardian.
  • DON’T download any content from unknown or distrustful sources.
  • Avoid logging into your accounts on public computers.