As students around the country gear up for another wonderful school year—from preschool up through graduate school—there are some things that parents, teachers, and students must know in order to keep their personally identifiable information safe. Fortunately, there’s still time to attend a really useful, educational Twitter chat on how to help your child’s identity remain as secure as possible, hosted by the Identity Theft Resource Center and Private WiFi.
Children are often a prime target for identity thieves due to their “clean slate” credit reports and due to the sheer amount of data that schools, doctor’s offices, and other administrative offices collect. One quick peek into a student’s school file, for example, provides a would-be thief all of the information he or she needs to establish fraudulent credit in the student’s name; unfortunately, schools and offices around the country have suffered from internal data breaches, both intentional and accidental, that have left the personally identifiable information of thousands of children vulnerable and exposed.
To make matters worse, children who become victims of identity theft often don’t discover the problem until they’re older, such as when they’re filling out student loan applications or when a background check is run for their first real jobs. In the meantime, a thief has had the opportunity to run rampant with their credit scores for years, racking up tremendous debt and collections citations that are waiting to ruin any potential opportunities the students may have had.
Of course, children aren’t the only ones who need to be careful with their personal data when it comes to returning to school. An alarming number of teachers have had their identities stolen as a result of a thief snooping through school systems’ and retirement systems’ servers, which means an added layer of diligence for their personal data monitoring is in order.
The ITRC will be hosting a Twitter chat on Thursday, September 4th, at 2:00pm ET, to discuss the hidden dangers and the ways to prevent a personal data breach of your kids’ information. Some of the most commonly asked questions about children’s identity security will be answered, including:
· What are some resources for parents wanting to learn more about online safety for their kids?
· Does your child’s school ask for their SSN? Do you have to give it to them?
· Does your child have WiFi in their school? Do they use it?
· What should parents be concerned about with online safety for their kids?
· Do you think schools should have WiFi? Why or why not?
· What internet enabled devices does your child take to school?
· How much of your back to school shopping do you do online?
· What are some ways parents can protect their child’s personal information?
· Do you know who your school shares your information with? Who is it?
· What should you do of your child’s school experiences a data breach?
Participating in a Twitter chat is informative and easy to do. Simply log into your Twitter account and type in a search for the #IDTheftChat hashtag. Add that hashtag to the end of all of your tweets so that your questions and comments can be seen by the group, and follow the hashtag for updated comments, remarks, and answers. Of course, you can always follow along in the ID Theft Chat TweetChat room by going to http://tweetchat.com/room/IDTheftChat. Also be sure to keep up to date on this type of information, by following both the Identity Theft Resource Center (@ITRCSD) and Private WiFi (@PrivateWifi) on Twitter.