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This post was generously underwritten by Lifelock for covering stories about helping protect yourself from identity theft. As always my comments and opinions are my own.
Back to School
It’s back to school season and this year it’s an exceptionally exciting time for us. My kids are in a new elementary school with new backpacks (my younger son’s is almost as large as he is) and lunch pails, new friends and teachers. At this time of year it feels like anything is possible, and I always want to sign my kids up for everything. Soccer, music, science club, the works.
Now some of you may have kids heading to elementary school, secondary school, high school, or university, too. And one thing’s for sure, no matter which school they are headed to, there are all kinds of forms to fill out, papers to sign, and clubs and organizations to register for.
Whatever your children’s ages, there are ways you can help them to protect themselves from theft of their property and their identities during back to school season. Here are 5 tips:
Elementary School Aged
1. Your school may require that your child’s Batman backpack, lunch pail, batwing pencil holder, coat or sweater be labelled to help prevent loss and confusion. But nothing says it has to be labelled with their full legal name, age, or social security number.
2. When you go to the doctor for that school entrance check up or immunizations, if the forms ask for their social security number or yours, ask if you can use some other identifier on the paperwork.
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Middle and High School Aged
3. Online Assignments, Social Media, other Websites
Monitor your child’s online activity. Be sure to caution your tweens and adolescents about needing to protect their identities online. Remind them regularly and insist that they should never give out their personal information (name, address, school, phone number, age, or those of their parents, etc.) online without speaking to you and showing you first. Explain to them what phishing is. And explain how easy it is for someone to pretend to be someone they are not, like a bank, or a long lost relative in need of money, or another child. Insist that they let you know immediately if anyone sends them a message that seems mean, scary, makes them feel uncomfortable or asks them to meet.
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University Aged Students
4. Housing Credit Checks
Make sure your young adult university students are proceeding with caution when looking for housing. Is the person asking them for their credit information legitimate?
5. First credit card
Caution your university students about the risks of signing up for credit cards, especially on or near campus. A person sitting at a table in the student union with a piece of paper asking for their personal information presents its own risks. So, too, does filling out applications online. Show your child the benefits of researching the right card on your own, rather than responding to unsolicited offers of credit. Talk to them about responsible card ownership and the consequences of bad credit, and how to keep a close eye on their accounts.
There you have it. 5 ways to help protect your kids, their property, their personal information, and their identities during back to school season and all year long.
Want more tips on protecting yourself and your identity? The good folks at LifeLock have all kinds of great information because they are the people who relentlessly help protect identities every day.