Teach Your Teen To Avoid Identity Theft
By Diana Simeon
Your teenager probably knows not to share passwords with friends (except, perhaps, your family’s Netflix password), but is she aware of other important ways to avoid identity theft and protect her personal data? Make sure your teenager leaves home knowing how to keep the important things secure. Share these 4 tips.
Steps to Avoid Identity Theft
1. Stay safe on public Wi-Fi.
Using a public Wi-Fi network is like having a conversation that anyone can listen to. These networks are typically unencrypted, meaning that anyone sitting nearby with the right software tool can see everything you are doing on the network, whether that’s posting to Twitter or checking your credit card statement. If you’re on a public network, it’s best not to do any activities with personally identifiable information (e.g., information that can compromise you in some way, whether financially or otherwise). Other tips for public Wi-Fi: Use a secure browser, like Chrome or Comodo Dragon; use websites, not apps, as mobile apps tend to be less secure (even banking apps); favor https websites (which are still not secure enough for shopping or banking, but unlike http, encrypt user data).
2. Have a decent password (and more than one).
You probably know that your passwords should not be obvious—and that you shouldn’t use the same password each and every time you sign up for something. But does your teenager? Brainstorm with your teenager possible passwords that are both secure and easy to remember.
3. Don’t overshare.
Teenagers like to share, but they should know not to share passwords or other personal data, like credit card numbers, social security numbers, pin numbers, etc. This may seem obvious to you, but it may not be to your teenager.
4. Sign up for alerts.
Many banks now send texts and other alerts when it appears that fraudulent activity is taking place. Make sure your teenager signs up for these alerts if she has her own bank or other financial accounts (especially once she gets to college).
Diana Simeon is managing editor of Your Teen.