In today’s world of NSA spying controversies and everyone rushing to protect their privacy, a dangerous menace lurks underneath all this commotion. This menace has the potential to ruin your child’s future. This menace is called Child Identity Theft.
Imagine your child bringing in her first pay from her part-timer. You are really proud, having grown your child with utmost care and safety, securing her a self-dependent financial future. Now that she has begun to rely on herself, you feel an imminent desire to get a credit card of her own. Without a delay, you go straight to your bank with a credit card application. But then a tragedy hits…
Your bank turns down the application, stating that a host of credit cards have already been issued under the child’s name – all with fatal credit histories! You and your child have been a victim of identity theft, says the credit card officer, following a thorough inspection of the applicant’s credentials.
Yes, child identity theft is a reality of today’s world. And while it may surprise you, ten percent of children under the age of eighteen have already had their identities stolen. In fact, children are fifty times more likely to be attacked by online scammers than adults. The incidence of child identity theft (like the one pictured above) can play havoc with your child’s financial future. She might be forced to settle loans that an online plunderer took under her name. Hackers may even peek into your child’s baby monitor just to create a fuss of your online privacy or blackmail you.
What causes child identity theft?
Your kid can fall prey to child identity theft when she loses her social security number (SSN) during online conversations and file sharing. Once stolen, SSN can be used to create bank accounts and file for credit cards. It is also used to identity and claim medical reimbursements and other state-funded social support allowances. Even home mortgages cannot be initiated without an SSN.
Since your child is unlikely to apply for her personal credit until she turns 18, an online thief will take the opportunity to use her SSN and other personally identifiable information to fake as a credit applicant to make online and offline purchases.
Childproof Your Kid’s Online Usage
You can secure unauthorized access to confidential information only by taking a few measures of online vigilance. Here are some tips you can use to ensure protection from child identity theft:
- Never share personal information, passwords or account information online
- Do not share photos, videos or any other data file publicly
- Never message, chat or agree to meet strangers
- Install new software, games or applications under adult supervision
- Report issues of cyber bullying and harassment
- Never entertain emails from unknown senders, even if they are sweet enough to offer you $1 million!
Furthermore, you can also report any child identity theft issues you might encounter to one of the credit bureaus such as Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. These bureaus may help you in providing full credit histories associated with an SSN.
VPN – The Best Online Privacy Shield
A virtual private network, or VPN, is the strongest measure you can take to counter child identity theft. A VPN’s job is to affix a layer of anonymity into your child’s online activity, generally though rerouting of your data from remote servers located outside your country. Since all data travelling via VPN is encrypted and takes place under high-class data tunneling protocols, no data snooper can ever spy on your online activities to steal your personal information.
A little knowledge about child identity theft can really save your child from unbearable financial strains. On the other hand, stolen passwords, social security numbers and credit card information is all it takes for hackers to put you under a horrendous debt trap. Being careful about your privacy and having safety systems like VPN will surely pay you off in the long run.