TMI! Identity Thieves Target Oversharing Online

The internet is deeply integrated into our everyday lives, but for all of its benefits, it can also be a gateway for various types of identity theft. Know the risks of oversharing online and help protect your family from fraud.

Identity Thieves Bank on Oversharing

It’s so easy for children to connect with their friends today. New or old, they are just a click away. With each post, like, check-in or status update, they share a little bit about themselves and their families. Before this common activity becomes a risk to your entire family, talk to your children about smart and safe behavior online.

Don’t Become a Target for Fraud

It’s fun to be the first to post a crazy photo from a great weekend or a silly video of friends. But before each post, encourage your child to think about the implications. Sometimes these posts can garner unwanted attention, but it could be too late by the time you try to delete them. Over-sharers are easy targets for identity thieves and the damage from seemingly innocent posts can linger for years to come.

A Little Information Goes a Long Way

About half of teens report that they have shared their email addresses online, about one-third have shared phone numbers, and 15 percent say they’ve published a home address.

If this information ends up in the wrong hands, it could be dangerous. Strangers with access to your home address can commit mail fraud, stage a break-in or even use the information to steal your identity. Children may not see the bigger picture, so talk to them about the risks associated with over-sharing personal information.

Mobile Technology Increases Risk for Fraud

Despite what some may think, activity on a mobile device can also be an area of risk. Emphasize to your children the importance of keeping personal photos private, and to be cautious about sharing via text or social media. It’s important for them to understand that just because they are practicing safe Internet practices, others may not be and could misuse information not intended for public viewing.

Empower your kids to ask questions about what to share online and to talk to you about any issues with their online life.