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The Resource Center Child Identity Theft & Protection | article

Teens Need to Be Aware of Risks When Using Public Computers or Wi-Fi

Is your teen aware of the risks when using public computers or Wi-Fi to access social networking sites? Free Wi-Fi is a big selling point for many businesses. The fast-food restaurants and cyber cafes often appeal to teens.  This means teens may spend hours being active on social networks while on a public computer or public Wi-Fi.

Hidden Dangers of Public Access

Munching on a hamburger and fries while online may seem like good clean fun, but a teen might be sharing more than just a seat when they use public access. If teens forget to log off from their social media accounts on a shared computer, the next user may be able to open up the teen’s social profile. From there, they could view private messages and gain access to passwords and other private information

Password Protect Your Computer

Teens may believe that using their own computer on public Wi-Fi eliminates the risks of a shared computer. When you connect to public Wi-Fi, another user on the same public Wi-Fi may have access to all your information stored on your computer. To make this more difficult, password protect your computer.

Identity Theft Hurts

Identity theft could have embarrassing implications for a teen. Someone could write hurtful things to friends, post inappropriate messages and pictures or even take down the profile of the child who forgot to log off.

It could be even worse if the person who stumbles onto a child’s social media account is an identity thief. The thief could potentially gather enough information to sign up for bank accounts or lines of credit.

All the criminal needs are those nine digits to leave the child with a huge debt-load. The victim’s credit score may be hit so hard that the teen won’t be able to apply for a line of credit of their own in the future without a substantial time investment. By making sure their kids are logging off and password protecting their computers when using public access, parents are taking a big step in safeguarding their child’s credit report.