Identity thieves love to target the younger generation because not only do they have a clean credit record, but also because there’s also less chance of the theft being discovered since teens are also less likely to be monitoring their credit.
Here are five bad habits that could put tweens and teens at risk of identity theft:
- Using public WiFi without considering the consequence: Maybe your tween or teen has gotten in trouble for going over their allotted data usage for the month, which means they might be tempted to use whatever open, public WiFi they can access. Data transmitted over unsecured WiFi can be intercepted by third parties. Think about Internet banking, email and other services where you enter login information.
- Downloading apps from the Internet without reviewing their information sharing policies or making sure they’re safe: First, tweens and teens might not realize they should never download an app outside of the Google Play store. This Wired.com story reveals why, detailing a strain of malware that could steal user data and infected 1.3 million Android phones. “For criminals, the malicious Android app business is booming. It’s easy for a hacker to dress software up to look novel, benign, or exactly like mainstream product, and then plant it in third-party app stores for careless browsers to find. Once downloaded, these apps may even seem normal but they can spread ransomware or types of malware that exploit system vulnerabilities to steal data or take over a whole device,” according to the story.
- Password sharing: According to a Family Online Safety Institute study conducted by Hart Research Associates, over a third of teens (34 percent) admitted to sharing at least one username and password with someone other than their parents. Password sharing is a risky behavior that can compromise sensitive information.
- Using the same password for multiple sites: Just like many adults, teenagers might be tempted to use the same passwords across multiple sites, like email, for internet banking and on their social media accounts or game accounts. If that password is then stolen in a data breach, the rest of the accounts are at risk of being compromised.
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