With Ofsted’s new framework for school inspections in place, which now includes requirements for e-safety in its school rating system, and frequent reports about cybercrime in the news, identity theft is a growing concern for many parents. These days, children grow up with technology as an integral part of their everyday lives and are often encouraged by their peers to share personal information online without hesitation. Parental controls on laptops and computers are important, but equal focus should also be placed on teaching children how to behave appropriately in the online world.
Julie Doleman, Managing Director for Experian Consumer Services for Experian Consumer Services, explains: “Contrary to our generation, children today are mastering the Internet at a very early age. It can seem daunting for us parents to keep up with their technology skills, but it’s important to talk to them about identity protection so that they learn early on what type of information not to share on social media sites and how to identify other common cyber threats such as phishing scams. That way they our kids can continue to safely enjoy all of the age-appropriate experiences that the web has to offer.”
Experian Consumer Services provides some simple tips for parents on what to teach their children about identity protection:
- Activate pin codes – if you use mobile device such as mobile phone or tablet, make sure that the passcode on the device is activated.
- Chatroom privacy – when involving in conversations in online chatrooms, be sure to keep details about your private lives to a minimum.
- Password strength – pick strong passwords for all online accounts, with between 10-12 characters, and don’t use the same password twice.
- Beware of phishing scams – Don’t click on links in emails sent by unknown senders, unless you know for sure that it contains legitimate information. This is how viruses can infilitrate your computer and fraudsters access your personal details.
- Updates – avoid divulging personal information on social networking sites, such as your birthdate, phone number or address. These details could help a fraudster guess your password or pincode.
If you believe that you or someone in your family may need additional help with identity protection, Experian CreditExpert is a web monitoring tool that monitors the Internet for your personal information 24 hours per day, seven days a week, and sends you a prompt alert if your details show up someplace new, anywhere on web.
Anyone who fears that they have been subjected to fraud is urged to contact the police, their bank and check their credit report. The CreditExpert web monitoring tool also offers access to Experian’s Victims of Fraud service, free of charge, where a team is available to offer expert advice and support based on individual circumstances.