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The Online Mom provides internet technology advice and information to help parents protect their kids, encourage responsible behavior and safely harness the power of technology in the new digital world. Social networking, photo sharing, video games, IM & texting, internet security, cyberbullying, educational resources, the latest on tech hardware, gadgets and software for kids 3-8, tweens and teens, and more.

Protecting Your Kids Against Identity Theft

Today’s highly communicative, mobile world has made connecting with friends and family around the world easier than ever before. But it’s also created many ways for thieves to access your credit and other personal information for their own gain.

This makes it essential for you to protect yourself and your children and also to explain to them what you’re doing and why.

Here are some of the ways you can talk to your family about identity theft:

  • Describe its many forms – explain why thieves want your identity (to get to your money and assets) and how they use the information.
  • Talk about how to be smart: do not disclose any personal information or information that others could use to identify you.
  • Stress that less is more. Discuss information on “a need to know basis.” Do not disclose details about your whereabouts or planned vacations.
  • If your child uses passwords, teach her not to share them with her BFF's and discuss how to change them on a regular basis.

It can be a good idea to engage a credit report service that covers not just you and your spouse but your child as well. Many college graduates find out too late that their social security number has been compromised and they will have to spend the next 5 years clearing their names.

With credit monitoring, you will be notified of any activity incurred on behalf of the social security numbers that you have listed and it will provide you with much-needed peace of mind.

Identity Guard's credit monitoring service is my family’s go-to option, as it allows us to keep tabs on our credit reports and scores and stay alert for any unauthorized changes to our credit accounts.

Where to learn more

Take the time and effort to familiarize yourself with identity theft protection resources, so you will know who to contact after an incident. Because so much responsibility to dispute a fraud falls on a victim’s shoulders, knowing who you can turn to for assistance and guidance may help alleviate some of that burden. Here is a list of contacts that may help:

Federal Resources
•    Better Business Bureau
•    U.S. Department of Justice
•    U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation
•    U.S. Federal Trade Commission National Resource on Identity Theft   

•    National Center for Victims of Crime
•    National Fraud Information Center
•    National White Collar Crime Center
•    Privacy Rights Clearinghouse

•    Sample Letter: To Resolve Credit Disputes
•    Sample Letter: To a Credit Reporting Agency
•    Sample Letter: To Your Credit Issuer
•    Sample Letter: To Your Police Department
•    Remove Yourself from Mailing Lists, Telemarketing Lists, and Email Lists

Education and Assistance
•    Identity Theft Assistance Center

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