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The Resource Center Child Identity Theft & Protection | article

Kids Oversharing May Lead to Child Identity Theft

Social media websites are a great outlet for kids to express themselves. Typically kids will share tagged photos, personalized banners and personal poems and writings. These updates may lead to identity theft.

Who Sees Status Updates

Sharing this personal information may spark new friendships, it may also give others insight into a kid's personal information. A clever user who wants to hack into a kid's account could use information as simple as their first dogs name to start the process. A teen may have unintentionally given out that information in a caption on a photo.

Password Security Questions; Helpful or Harmful?

When signing up, many social media websites will ask a series of personal questions with answers only the child will know. This is an added security measure to ensure the real user is the person trying to access the account.

For strangers, the answers to these simple questions like “What is your first dog’s name?” or “What town were you born in?” may be found just by checking out a user’s profile page.

Not Only Social Media

This security measure is a common practice used on many password protected websites, including some banks. Once a criminal gains access to an account, they can see personal information like the Social Security Number you have been carefully shielding behind passwords. This would allow the thief to open up new accounts and leave an innocent child with the bill damaging their credit score before they even ask to borrow money.

Protecting Personal Information

Do not share information on Facebook that would give away the answers to these personal security questions. Using a fake pet name or misspelled word to answer those security questions will protect your information from thieves. The whole point of this system is to help a forgetful user, but it’s easier to remember these fake answers than it is to clean up a bad credit report.