Just like adults, children are at risk of identity theft and fraud. That's why it's so important to educate kids about online safety, privacy and common scams from an early age.
Teach your kids how to stay secure and avoid fraud with these helpful fraud prevention lessons:
Lesson #1: Internet safety basics
Before your child starts using the Internet, make sure you have a conversation about safe online practices.
Here are some tips to cover:
- Use strong, complex passwords with a mix of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
- Be suspicious of emails asking you to click on a link or download an attachment. Fraudsters could use fake emails to install malware on your computer.
- Don't overshare. Explain to your kids that anything they post online can be easily copied and shared around the world.
- Use caution on social media. Remind your kids to keep their privacy settings high. Make sure they know not to accept friend requests from people they don't know in real life.
Lesson #2: Privacy protection
Child identity theft is a growing problem. Because most children under 18 have no credit history, the fraud can go undetected for a very long time. All the identity thief needs is your child's Social Security number to apply for new accounts, loans or government benefits.
To help prevent identity theft, talk to your children about the importance of protecting their private information online. Explain that their personal information has value — just like money. Show your kids how to protect themselves by using strong privacy and security settings on apps and websites. Remind them to never share their personal information online, even with “friends."
Lesson #3: Signs of a scam
Scammers try new methods all the time, but every scam shares classic warning signs. Teach your kids that they notice any of these red flags, they're probably dealing with a scammer!
- Pressure to act now.
Scammers often use fear tactics to rush their victims into making decisions without thinking twice. Teach your kids to pause and think before responding or clicking on a link. Tell them they can always hang up or walk away and get help if something doesn't seem right.
- A promise to “get rich quick."
It's an age-old lesson: if something seems too good to be true, it probably is! Remind your kids to watch out for get-rich-quick offers and surprise giveaways, especially if they're asked to pay a fee or provide personal information to participate.
- Asking for too much information.
Tell your kids to be on alert if anyone asks for their personal information online, over the phone or via text. Even if someone claims to be from a familiar source, it could be a scam. Remember, legitimate companies won't ask for your Social Security number, account numbers or passwords by email or text message.
We all want to help our kids get their finances off to a great start, and that includes protecting them from fraud. Teaching your kids these lessons now is a great way to help them prevent, detect and avoid fraud later in life!
Wright-Patt Credit Union is here to help you and your family protect your personal and financial information and avoid becoming a victim of fraud. We have the tips, tools, and resources you need to keep your money and information safe. For more fraud prevention tips, visit WPCU.coop/StopFraud.