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5 Practical Ways of Protecting Your Family Members from Identity Theft

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Scammers and criminals are always on the lookout to steal your personal information and assume your identity to commit various crimes. This is commonly known as identity theft, and when you become a victim of this crime, your image, finances, and security can become compromised.
Young children, teenagers, and older people are often the main targets of cybercriminals and identity thieves as they are more trusting and more likely to be careless with their sensitive information. 

Prevent identity theft from happening to your loved ones by practicing the tips below:

Handle forms containing social security numbers with care
When it comes to any documents that contain the social security numbers of your children or other family members, always observe proper storage, transmission, and disposal. This is one of the most important tips for preventing identity theft. Physical or digital documents with social security numbers are prime targets for criminals, as they make it extremely easy to steal someone’s identity.

Make sure to handle your family member’s social security number and other personal information with care. No matter how safe you think it is, never post social security numbers online, and do not send them through email or social messaging apps. If you must mail such documents, make sure to send them via registered mail to guarantee that the documents will reach the proper recipient.

Refrain from sharing too much information about your child online
It can be easy to go overboard with sharing stories about your children on social media. After all, you’re a proud parent. However, there is a fine line between being proud of your child and being careless. When you share too much online, you aren’t just exposing your kids to possible identity theft—you are also exposing them to pedophiles, kidnappers, and other criminals who prowl the Internet.

Always practice safe social media sharing. Avoid sharing pictures that provide hints about your home, your child’s school, and your general whereabouts. Also, never post photos of your child’s certificates, plaques, identification cards, or any material that may contain their personal information.

Be wary of any suspicious looking mail
When you check your mailbox, make sure to watch out for suspicious mail. Look for credit card bills and other statements that do not belong. They can be under your child’s or parent’s name, or maybe even yours. If you find a credit card statement under your child’s name, when you know full well that your child doesn’t have a credit card, it can mean that someone else is using their identity for unauthorized transactions.

Be extra vigilant when sorting your mail, and when you do see suspicious-looking bills or other forms of mail, call the authorities immediately to find out what you can do about this matter.

Monitor bank and credit card statements
In line with the item above, it is also advised that you check bank and credit card statements for any unauthorized transactions. If your elderly parent or teenager has their own credit card, make sure to check it for them.

Apart from unauthorized transactions, check the statement to see if the credit card has been used on a website or in a location that the credit card owner does not normally frequent. Any abnormal activity can mean possible identity theft, so always watch out for these signs.

Educate them on the importance of safe browsing
You can’t always monitor everything, which is why it’s crucial to ensure that every family member is properly educated on the importance of keeping themselves safe from online threats by taking the proper safety precautions when engaging in any kind of online activity. Tell them to refrain from engaging in intimate conversations with online strangers. Teach them to create strong passwords that can’t be easily guessed. Make sure that they know how to spot shady online stores or phishing websites.

In the case of very young children and forgetful elderly parents, it can be difficult to expect them to keep themselves safe. Therefore, make sure to block certain websites and install the necessary software on their devices to protect them from online threats and cyber criminals.

Identity thieves are everywhere. They’re constantly getting smarter and savvier, and it looks like they aren’t going away anytime soon. Ensure that you and your family members are protected from possible identity theft by following the tips outlined above—and make sure to always stay one step ahead of these criminals by keeping yourself updated on the latest identity theft methods and schemes, as well as the latest prevention methods.

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