Thank you for continuing to follow our series, “Protecting Teenagers from Identity Theft”. Over the course of the past couple of weeks, you have learned that teenagers are highly susceptible to becoming victims of ID theft. You have been instructed to engage in “the talk” as it pertains to personal identification and safety on the World Wide Web, and have learned why the identity of your teenager is in such high demand among cyber criminals. You have also learned what happens to your child’s identity once it becomes compromised. This week, you will learn about identity theft and social networking.

What is Social Networking?

If you are the parent or the guardian of a child under the age of eighteen, you likely know what social networking is, or, you – at the very least – have a clue. It is a type of website that stands as a gathering place for internet users. In order to join such a site, a small amount of personal information is required. Profile pages that tell who you are, what you like, and various other types of information are common on social networking websites. Because of the nature of the websites, identity theft commonly occurs when someone obtains illegal access to personal identifying information that is on the website. In most instances, the criminal uses this information to gain in one way or another and/or to exploit someone.

Activities That Could Result in Identity Theft on Social Networking Websites

There are many activities that a teenager may indulge in that could put them at risk for becoming a victim of identity theft. These are as follows:

  • Electing to use no privacy settings or choosing only low privacy settings
  • Downloading applications for use on the profile page
  • Accepting invitations from people that are not known, personally
  • Giving a password and other types of information out to others
  • Clicking on unfamiliar links
  • Clicking on links in emails that encourage one to update their information on a social networking website
  • Not using security software on a computer or mobile device where social networking websites are accessed

Social Networking in a Safe Manner

Social networking websites are a lot of fun and a part of our world today. It is important to ensure that, if your teen uses these websites, they follow the tips outlined below:

  1. Make certain that the highest level of privacy settings are used, at all times.
  2. The least amount of personal information should be provided on the website.
  3. Do not post any personal identifying information.
  4. Do not post details about being at a certain place or leaving town.
  5. Install a firewall and use reputable anti-virus software.

Somerville takes everyone’s security very seriously – even teenagers. If you have any questions about how to protect your teen from becoming a victim of identity theft, we are only a phone call or a quick visit away. Simply get in touch with one of our client representatives to get the latest information by clicking HERE.