Teens are the Latest Victims of Identity Theft!
Identity Theft. Even though this type of crime is relatively new on the scene, its growth has produced alarming results. Every age group, including teens, is impacted by potential loss to one’s identity to someone else.
One reason is the rise of a unique and, sometimes detached, lifestyle for our teens. The age for having credit cards gets younger every year, but this does not necessarily mean that teens understand the responsibilities and risks associated with having credit cards. As a result, teens are a prime target for identity theft.
Another area of risk to identity theft for teens is the social networking sites that have literally become their connection to society. Many teens willingly share their private details in order to be more popular amongst their peer group.
Because of the massive popularity of sites such as MySpace, FaceBook and YouTube teens often live in a breeding ground for predators looking for their next victim. Identity theft is becoming their weapon of choice. Most teenagers on MySpace don’t give a thought to security issues and readily post all of their personal information on the site. This could include their full name, age, address, etc.
The 5 top reasons why teenagers are so vulnerable to identity theft attacks are:
Chatting, and in some cases, meeting up with strangers via their social networking page
Posting all of their personal details on various sites
Storing personal information (i.e. usernames, passwords, SSN and etc.) in cell phones
Revealing their SSN on online job applications
The risk for identity theft for teens has produced a “currency” so valuable, that a teen’s identity can be worth more to identity theft thieves than money.
The good news is that protecting a teen’s identity is relatively easy. The first step is to make sure that teens understand the risk, and how to recognize and prevent identity theft.
There are numerous strategies teens can adopt that will help to protect their lives and their credit from falling victim to an identity theft attack. The following list is a great place to start:
Teens can protect against identity theft by:
- Protecting their computer or phone by understanding exactly the type of data that it holds, then selecting the appropriate security options to protect the data.
- If they are planning to attend college, request that the school refrain from using their SSN (social security number) as their college identification number.
- Never giving out private details over the Internet or phone, unless absolutely sure of who they are dealing with.
- Making sure they carefully scrutinize their credit report before applying for their first apartment or a student loan.
- Always keeping their social security card and birth certificate in a safe and secure place.
- Lowering credit card limits.
- Learning how to spot shoulder surfing and stop these crooks in their tracks.
One of the most important resources teens have for getting off to a great start in life is their parents. Working together, teens can avoid becoming a victim of identity theft.