Shielding Your Teen's Digital Footprint

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Child identity theft occurs when someone steals a child's information or personal data. In 90% of cases, this information is used to open credit cards or bank accounts, apply for loans, commit cybercrimes such as fraud, and more. In the digital age we live in, every parent is subject to fearing that their child may misuse the internet, and these fears are further validated by the continuously growing cases of minor identity theft.

To provide you with some important data on how crucial it is for parents to take preventive measures to protect their children, every year, in the United States alone, one in 50 children falls victim to cybercriminals.

Today, a child's stolen identity can go unnoticed for years. Most victims may not realize it until they find themselves needing to apply for a loan, such as a first car loan, or to pursue higher education.

How Minor Identity Theft Can Occur  

Sometimes, parents' own behaviours can also lead to identity theft of their children. According to Barclays, in fact, the information parents share about their children online will lead to two-thirds of identity thefts against young people by 2030.

Social Media   

Posting photos of your children online could provide hackers with various information that could be used for identity theft. Names, dates of birth, and details about minors' daily lives can be exploited for criminal purposes. When children themselves create social media accounts, they are often unaware of the risks involved, including common cyber threats such as scams.
 
One effective way to deal with these dangers is to rely on specialized companies that provide data removal services to help you remove content from google, in this way, you minimize the amount of personal information available online thereby reducing the risk of being a victim of fraudulent activities such as phishing, identity usurpation, and account theft.  

Compromised Accounts

Another danger is that cybercriminals may hack and compromise online accounts containing sensitive information of minors. If someone can compromise one of your or your child's accounts containing their sensitive information, such as social security number, this can also lead to minor identity theft. The likelihood of this happening increases when the victims of a compromised account are individuals using weak passwords, as these can be easily deciphered. 

Phishing  

It is a specific type of scam carried out on the Internet through deceiving users. It mainly materializes through misleading emails or even messages. People are induced to click on harmful links, which potentially install malware that steals information, or they are prompted to provide their personal data.  

Family Members

One of the most common perpetrators of minor identity theft is someone the victim knows. It's common for the perpetrators of the crime to also be family members. Family frauds are surprisingly common. According to estimates, in 67% of families experiencing minor identity theft frauds, the victim personally knew the perpetrator or perpetrators of the crime. It's the close access to sensitive documents that provides the perfect opportunity, and the presumption of innocence allows the fraud to go unnoticed for years.   

How To Notice If Your Child Has Suffered Identity Theft

If someone steals your child's identity, it's not always easy to notice, but you can look out for the following signs:
 
Unexpected Bills:   It could happen that your child receives bills via regular mail or email for items not purchased by them, including possible subscriptions or services.
 
Unknown Emails:   Your child's email address could be used by someone to create new online accounts or sign up for services, which could result in an accumulation of emails from companies that they don't normally contact.
 
Blocks when applying for bank accounts:   If you try to open a bank account for or with your child, you might notice a poor credit score even before you start building their credit.
 
It's important to prevent child identity theft by being mindful of releasing information and personal data on Google to protect their privacy and prevent the use of personal data for fraudulent purposes. If you notice any of the above signs or any other unusual activity, it is highly recommended to take corrective actions.

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