Posted on 2015-09-07 09:00:53
Identity theft is no stranger to the teen population. According to one study, children under the age of 18 are twice as likely to become identity theft victims as their parents. Teens make easy identity theft targets because they usually have clean credit reports (or none at all). Couple that with the typical teen’s trusting nature, and the stage is set for identity theft. Here are 5 steps that can help protect your teen from identity theft.1. Keep bank information private. Teenagers may not see the harm in sharing personal information with friends. But sharing personal information is a dangerous habit to start. All it takes is one less-than-honest or desperate friend to open the door for identity theft. Encourage your teen not to hand over the keys to his identity by sharing personal information. 2. Limit exposure on social media. Most teens are on at least one social media network such as Facebook or Twitter. And most of them are friends with people they hardly know or don’t know at all. Once something is posted, control of that information is forever lost. Identity thieves hang out on social media sites looking for opportunities. Teach your teen to limit exposure on social media networks.
3. Keep a lean wallet. Your teen should never carry more than is necessary in his wallet. Old-fashioned pick-pocketing is still popular with identity thieves. Social Security numbers are especially valuable, and there is usually no reason for a teen to carry his Social Security card in his wallet. 4. Shred, shred, and shred some more. Help your teen get in the habit of shredding anything with personal information before getting rid of it. Unsolicited credit card offers contain a wealth of personal information that makes it easy for an identity thief to open credit in your teen’s name. Buy a shredder and use it to discard of anything with personal information. 5. Monitor your teen’s credit report. Once your child starts using credit, teach him the importance of knowing what is on his credit report. Review it periodically to check for accuracy. That’s often where evidence of identity theft first shows up. A credit monitoring service is an easy and effective way to keep tabs on your teen’s credit report.