Scammers don’t discriminate when it comes to victims. They will happily defraud anyone who takes the bait they put out online.
That includes children. In 2018, over 1 million children under the age of 12 had their identity stolen by a scammer. Even worse, 66% of those victims were under the age of eight.
If you’re a parent, you should be concerned about scammers targeting your kids. However, you should also know that you’re not helpless. You can take steps to protect your kids against scammers and help them learn how to avoid a scammer’s tricks.
Keep Children’s Data Private
When you share your personal information with a company, you’re relying on them to protect that information.
However, companies aren’t always successful. In the first 6 months of 2019 alone, over 3,800 data breaches compromised the records of 4.1 billion people.
Your best option is to limit the amount of your child’s data you share with companies. Don’t overshare information like your child’s social security number unless it is actually required.
You should also talk with your children about why they shouldn’t share their personal information. While you’re at it, make sure you know what personal information your children have on their electronics or what they share with third parties.
Talk With Your Children About Scams
When your child first starts to get involved online, make sure you have a chat with them. Talk about the methods scammers use to lure in their victims, especially younger victims. Make sure your children know they should never give out their personal information online unless they get your permission first.
You should also warn your kids about clicking on unknown links. Let them know they should never click on a link in a suspicious email, and never click on a pop-up ad. You can help kids with this by using your security software and parental controls to block most pop-up ads.
Check Your Financial Reports
The longer scammers have someone’s identity, the more damage they can do. This means you need to check your monthly financial reports regularly, including your credit card bills and online bank statements. However, you’ll also need to run credit checks for your child.
You can get an annual credit check once a year from the big three credit reporting agencies—Experian, Equifax and TransUnion to see if scammers are using your child’s personal information.
If you really want to keep your children safe, though, you can put a security freeze on your child’s credit report. This will prevent anyone from adding a new credit card to your account and make your child’s personal information useless to a scammer. It’s easy to do, and all the credit bureaus are required to offer the service for free.
Let First Alliance Credit Union Help Protect Your Loved Ones From Scams
Children can be the victim of a scammer just as much as adults. However, by taking a few simple steps, you can help keep your children safe from online threats.
You can also help keep your child safe from scammers by taking advantage of the tools and resources we offer to help avoid scams. Parents will be able to monitor their child’s financial activity using online banking, and when teenagers get their debit card, they’ll be able to use the the free MyCards feature on the First Alliance mobile app that will let them limit what types of businesses can use their card, the dollar amount of purchases on their cards and even the geographical area in which they can use their cards. Even better, First Alliance members get a discount on LegalShield, a comprehensive identity theft protection coverage. Sign up for it today to freeze scammers in their tracks.
If you believe your child has been the victim of a scam, you can also talk with a knowledgeable First Alliance advisor who will help you understand your options to recover your identity and mitigate the damage.
Want more information about identity theft? Check out episode 56 of our Good Money Moves podcast episode. it covers what to do if you've been a victim of fraud.