Your child may be getting ready to start college this fall, and you may be in the thick of it when it comes to applying for financial aid. Your child may even be applying for student loans.
But what happens when your child applies for a loan and finds that he's already in debt – thousands of dollars in debt?
Unfortunately, for many teens, this is reality. Identity theft is a huge threat to young children, since their Social Security numbers are unused and the theft often goes unnoticed for many years. By the time the victim discovers the threat, much damage has been done and it can take years to clean up a credit history tainted by identity theft. And while your child is working on cleaning up the mess left behind by a thief, he will find it incredible difficult to buy a car, rent an apartment or even obtain a credit card.
According to Quest Communications International, people between the ages of 18 and 29 are the primary targets for identity theft. Statistics show that as people age, their chances of becoming victims of identity theft diminishes. Younger children are particularly susceptible because their parents don't check their credit reports.
Teens are at risk because they are more careless about protecting their personal information, and they're much more likely to think their personal info is secure. They may use credit cards in unsecured situations, or give out their information over the Internet or on the telephone, without even thinking of the consequences.
Teens are all over social media – they use social media sites very day, as well as blog sites. They also utilize peer-to-peer sharing sites to download music and videos. This all makes their personal information vulnerable, since teens often don't hesitate to share it on these types of sites.
Teach your teen how to protect himself by helping him understand when it is safe to give out personal information and when it is not safe to do so. You'll be protecting your child's present – and his future.