Recently the Los Angeles Times posted about how Identity Theft for kids is a big problem. I wanted to post some tips and services for you.
1. Teach Them About Social Security Numbers
First of all, they should know what their social security number is and the importance of keeping it private–not carrying it in a wallet or anything.
2. Talk to Them About Phishing
You know those crazy emails you get from a Somalian mother who wants to wire you $1,000,000? A lot of kids do not have any idea these are total scams. Tell your kids to immediately report these emails as spam and do not download or click on anything in the email…if they can, they should not even open it!
3. Rip Up Mail With Information on It
Sometimes kids get credit card offers, bank statements if they have started a little account or anything with their personal information on it. They need to get in the habit of ripping up their mail before throwing it away–many times people can go through trash to get information.
4. Shield Your Computer from Viruses and Spies
Protect your personal information on your home computer. Use strong passwords with at least eight characters, including a combination of letters, numbers and symbols, easy for you to remember, but difficult for others to guess. Use firewall, virus and spyware protection software that you update regularly. Steer clear of spyware. Download free software only from sites you know and trust. Don’t install software without knowing what it is.
5. Set Internet Explorer browser security to at least “medium.”
Teach your kids not to click on links in pop-up windows.
6. Click with Caution.
Teach kids about shopping online and to check out a Web site before entering your credit card number or other personal information.
7. Stop Pre-Approved Credit Offers
Have your name removed from credit bureau marketing lists. Call toll-free 1-888-5OPTOUT (567-8688).
8. You Should Monitor Your Credit Reports and Watch What Kids Are Spending
I have just started to check my credit reports and look out for suspicious activity.
9. Get Outside Help
I always try to provide resources for my non-techie readers, or what I call techno-peasants = ). Here are some services you can pay to monitor your families identity and credit.
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