Since February is Data Privacy Month, this is an ideal opportunity to share some ways to protect your child’s online identity even if your kids aren’t online yet. Because they have a squeaky clean credit history, kids are attractive targets for identity thieves who can operate undetected for years. Here are some ways to protect your child’s identity:
- Other than for tax purposes or your child’s school and medical records, few institutions actually need your child’s social security number. Push back on companies that ask for this sensitive information.
- Avoid carrying your kids’ SSNs around with you or storing them in an insecure location.
- Set up a Google Alert with your child’s name to help you monitor if she shows up anywhere online.
- Be careful of how much personal information you provide to company websites. If the company’s customer service is hacked, a child’s birthday, age and place of birth are good starting points for thieves. (It is also a good idea to hide your birth year on sites like Facebook.)
- Turn off geolocation tags when posting status updates and photos, especially when you post from home. This information can help thieves zero in on your home address. Many financial institutions use home addresses to confirm the identity of their customers.
- While you may be proud of your child for getting her first driver’s license, avoid posting a photo of her license (or any other documents with sensitive personal information) online. Remind your excited teen of this rule too.
- Avoid posting your child’s birthdate, age and place of birth online or in a baby gift registry. Make generic online birth announcements and ask the company to remove your child’s gift registry after you are done with it.
- Each year run a free report on your child through one of the three credit reporting agencies, including Experian, Equifax and Transunion. If a report shows up, there’s a strong chance that your child’s identity is being used fraudulently.
Finally, before submitting personal information about you or your child to companies, ask them if they are using secure private clouds to protect your family’s information. According to SingleHop, which provides private cloud hosting to businesses around the world, secure private clouds protect stored information and make it harder for hackers to gain access, whether remote or physical.
Wondering how well you are protecting your privacy and safeguarding your personal data online? Try taking this Data Privacy Month Quiz from SingleHop. Let me know how you score! Thank you to SingleHop for providing this eye-opening survey!