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Teenagers And Identity Theft Prevention

A recent Associated Press news story on ABC News highlighted a new trend by identity criminals to steal the sensitive personal information of children and teenagers. Why? Because youth have unused Social Security numbers which thieves can resell to people who want to obtain credit fraudulently. Plus, parents (and their children) don't check their chldren's credit reports for fraud.

What should you do? Parents should ensure that their teenager children learn how to spot phishing attacks -- attempts by identity criminals to trick teens into revealing their sensitive personal information.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) advises teens:

"Even if you're too young to have a checking account or credit card, a criminal who learns your name, address and Social Security number may be able to obtain a new credit card using your name to make purchases. One of the most important things you can do to protect against identity theft is to be very suspicious of requests for your name, Social Security number, passwords or bank or credit card information that come to you in an e-mail or an Internet advertisement, no matter how legitimate they may seem."Teens are very comfortable using e-mail and the Internet, but they need to be aware that criminals can be hiding at the other end of the computer screen," said Michael Benardo, manager of the FDIC's financial crimes section. These types of fraudulent requests can also come by phone, text message or in the mail."

To that I would add: don't give out your health care coverage information or account number. Some identity theft includes medical identity theft.

To summarize, teens must learn how to recognize phishing websites, phishing email messages, and phishing posts at social networking sites. You have probably seen the $1,000 gift card scam circulating within Facebook. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

To learn more, try these blog posts:


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