It’s not the lack of desk space parents are worried about with distance learning. Internet safety and child identity theft has us really concerned. If one million children fell victim to identity theft in 2017, think what that number is today? Everyone’s online, including the bad guys. So, let’s take some time to help your kids protect their personal information and yours while going to school online in 2020.
In a recent US News article, Eva Velasquez, president and CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center, gave some good internet safety advice that applies to gaming and social media as well. “When you’re online for school, you have to treat it the same as you would for recreational use – you have to have the same caution and concern.”
Internet safety tips for kids
- Remind kids to be careful about opening attachments and suspicious emails.
- Choose new passwords.
- Check security and privacy on school computers.
- If your kids use a home computer, be careful with your personal information.
- Be careful with your kids’ personal information and watch out for ID theft clues.
What are Identity theft clues?
Identify thieves love to get ahold of social security numbers and their attached clean credit report. Most parents are worried about protecting their kid’s social security numbers yet. But you should be in this age of distance learning. Thieves use the numbers to create new identifies and take out loans or make large purchases. What are the clues to look out for?
- Is your child receiving credit card offers in the mail?
- How about IRS tax notices for your child?
- Is your child getting debt collection calls?
Velasquez recommends that parents freeze their children’s credit record now that the freezes are free in all states, which makes it more difficult for identity thieves to take out credit in their name. “As a parent, freezing your child’s credit is one of the most robust consumer protection steps you can take,” she says. “We do advise parents to go ahead and freeze their children’s credit since it’s free now. That will take a lot of the guesswork out of it. There is no reason why a child’s credit needs to be open.”
Each credit bureau website has a procedure for children’s records. Just make sure you keep track of which ones you freeze so you can unfreeze them when your child is grown.
For more tips, look at sites like Safewise, which published an internet safety guide for kids. It’s been updated recently following online concerns during Coronavirus.
The Today show also covered internet safety and has 3 tips for greater online security for kids and parents.
ClickAway provides a free diagnosis for any computer that you may think has been compromised. We also provide free BullGuard internet security software with any operating system upgrade or new OS installations.