It is not at all unusual for a teenager to know and understand how to use a smartphone, social media websites, and other types of technology. This generation of teenagers were raised during a time of technological innovation and sophistication; as a result, they are consistently in the “know” on the latest and greatest in technological devices, programs, apps, and more. As a parent, you have probably come to accept that your teen is a technological guru. While your teenager is probably the one teaching you how to access, work, and manipulate the various forms of technology that are currently available on the market, it is your job to protect them from identity theft.

The Susceptibility
Many facts and figures abound regarding teenagers and identity theft. Perhaps, the most prevalent of all comes from the organization known as the “Juvenile Justice Information Exchange”. This group has established that teenagers and children under the age of 18 are more than 50 times more likely – than any other age group – to become victims of the increasingly popular crime, identity theft. There are numerous reasons for this, according to experts:

  1. According to statistics, nearly every identity associated with a minor is considered to be exceptionally valuable among identity thieves because of the fact that all have clean histories, as far as their credit is concerned, and teenagers are not likely to take advantage of checking their credit report for free each year.
  2. The second reason why teens are more susceptible to identity theft is because of the fact that they typically have a more casual approach and/or attitude towards technological-based security. Teenagers spend a great deal of their time on the internet. It is such a comfortable location to them that they do not feel threatened by any of the potential dangers that lurk on the information highway.
  3. The third reason why teens are more prone to attacks on their identity is because they are a bit more vulnerable to online scams.

“The Talk”
Teenagers have all heard and grimaced at the phrase, “the talk”; however, as a parent, you must be absolutely certain that you have had “the talk” with your teen as it relates to their online safety and protecting their personal information. While “the talk” may prove to be a bit uncomfortable for both you and your teen, it is best to do it before any dire consequences of NOT doing it occur. You should instruct your teen to never provide their Social Security number to anyone on the World Wide Web. If your teen wants to make purchases online, they should be instructed to only provide sensitive payment information to sites that are considered to be secure.

In Conclusion
Identity theft is on the rise. The magnitude of this problem is considered to be absolutely enormous. The impact of this type of crime is reaching epidemic proportions. Identity criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated and are now not only targeting adults, but, teens, too! Here at Somerville National Bank, we take great pride in helping people with their finances – regardless of age. In this installment of our series, “Protecting Teenagers from Identity Theft”, you have learned why teens are becoming more susceptible to this crime and the importance of educating them on this issue. Be sure to stay tuned for the remainder of the year as we continue this very special series. For more information, visit us today at: