Fact Sheet 127

Do you know how to stay safe on a blog? Follow Mike and Rachelle as they set up their accounts and interact with others online.  Pick your answers and read your score to see if you are staying safe on blog sites.

1. Mike has decided to start a blog.  As he is filling out his profile, it asks him what name he wants displayed.  Mike wants his friends to know that it’s him, but he isn’t sure what to put.  What should he enter?

A.   His Full Name (Michael James Henderson)

B.   His first name (Michael or Mike)

C.   School nickname (Mikey)

D.   An online handle

 

2. Mike continues to fill out his profile, listing his favorite movies and bands.  He then lists his hobbies and after school activities.  He has the option of listing the name of his school.  Should he?

A.   Sure, he wants people to know.

B.   Leave it blank because his friends know his school.

C.   Just the name, but not the city.

 

3. Rachelle likes to post pictures of everything on her blog.  After coming back from a party where she had her friends pass around her camera, she finds that there are some pictures of her friends drinking alcohol.  She knows her friends are eager to see how the pictures came out.  Should she post them on her blog?

A. Of course she should.  It was a party and they were all just having fun.

B. She should post some of the pictures, but not the ones with the drinking.

C. She should only post the really funny or embarrassing pictures.  Her friends will want to see those.

 

4. The next day she gets a message from a guy named Andy.  Andy says that he had some friends that went to that party and points them out in some of the pictures she posted.  She doesn’t know the particular guys he points out but there were a lot of people there she didn’t know.  Andy asks her if she would like to hang out sometime. The picture on his profile looks really cute and they seem to have a lot in common.  Should she go?

A.   Yes. He is cute and he says they know the same people.

B.   She should meet him at the mall with some of her friends.

C.   They should chat for a while first and get acquainted.

 

1.  A.  -3  B.  -1  C.  +1  D.  +3 You should never make your full name public.  Even your first name is questionable.  A nickname is fine and a handle is even better.  This way, nobody knows who you really are unless you specifically want them to.  Besides, your personal friends already know who you are so you don’t need to post too much on your site.  Other things you should never post publicly:  your address, phone number, driver’s license number, social security number, or student ID number.

2.  A. -1  B. +2  C. +1   You can put what school you attend, as long as you are not using your real name online.  If somebody comes across your account for illegal purposes, they can figure out what you look like and where you will be at a specific time.  This is dangerous.

3.  A.-3  B.+3  C.-3   The point of a blog is to share things, but remember that not everyone has your best interest in mind when looking through your blog. Pictures depicting questionable behavior may attract unwanted attention.  A good way to decide if what you are posting is appropriate to post is ask yourself first, “What would my parents say if they found this?”

4.  A. -3  B. +3  C. -3  D. +3   The Internet and social networks, including blogs, can lead to meeting new people. However, you must remember that there are those people online who use the Internet to commit crimes against other. If you do meet someone from the Internet in person, ask one of your friends to come along so that you are not going alone.  Make sure the place is at least 10 miles from your house and never tell them where you live or any personal information.  Always let your parents know where you are going and when you will be back.  Do not go to their house until you are sure you can trust them.  Don’t forget that it is always acceptable to tell somebody that you don’t care to meet in person, as well.

 

Now add up your score to see how you did.

-19 to -10 Poor:  Your blogging practices are not safe and you are putting yourself at risk of being taken advantage of.

-9 to 0 Fair: You know a little about online safety, but your skills need a lot of improvement.  Some of your practices could leave you open to thieves and predators.

1 to 9 Good: You know the basics and are relatively safe online, however, some of your skills need to be improved somewhat.

10 to 20 Great: Your practices are good and you take all precautions to stay safe on line.  Keep it up and have fun.

 

This fact sheet should not be used in lieu of legal advice. Any requests to reproduce this material, other than by individual victims for their own use, should be directed to itrc@idtheftcenter.org.

How To – Check a Child’s Credit Report

We encourage parents and guardians to check with the three major Credit Reporting Agencies (CRAs) to see if their child has a credit report, using a child’s personally identifying information (PII).  PII includes, but is not limited to, a child’s name, Social Security Number, and birthdate. Thieves can piece together parts of your child’s PII with another individual’s PII to create an identity (also known as synthetic identity theft), so you should provide more than just one piece of information to make sure the CRAs can do a thorough check of their systems.

Though there is no limit to the amount of times you can check for an existing child’s credit report, please be aware of the added exposure you create by mailing PII documents through the mail and/or uploading documents with PII. 

Writing to the CRAs

Each credit reporting agency has different requirements to inquire about and/or obtain a child’s credit report.  Regardless of the information being sent, we recommend you mail the information via certified mail with return receipt to ensure your information was received.

Equifax 

Visit here for more information.  The link provides a list of the documentation you will need and asks that you provide a letter of explanation. 

Experian 

Visit here for more information.  The link provides a list of the documentation you will need to send as well as a form that needs to be filled out by the parent/guardian submitting the request. 

TransUnion

Visit here to fill out TransUnion’s form.

Per TransUnion’s website, “You can also email childidtheft@transunion.com. Remember, do not email sensitive, identifying or account information.”

If your child does NOT have a credit report

Continue to check periodically.  It is particularly important to start checking annually once a child turns 16 as this will allow you to address any potential issues prior to the child becoming a legal adult, when he/she will more than likely rely on credit for things like loans (e.g. student or auto), renting an apartment, etc.

Federal law allows for a minor’s – under 16 years old – credit report to be created and immediately frozen upon creation in the hopes that this will prevent reports being created with fraudulent information.  This can be done at no cost.  If you are concerned your child’s information may be used to create a credit report or commit identity theft, this may be a good option to circumvent identity thieves.  If your child is 16 or 17 and does not have a credit report, you will need to continue to monitor his/her credit.  Only some states have a law that allows parents of minors under 18 years of age to create and freeze a credit report, and these generally are associated with a fee.  The National Conference of State Legislatures has a chart that lists each state and the corresponding laws/fees.

Read ITRC Info Sheet – How to Place a Credit Freeze

If your child has a credit report

Review your child’s report for accounts attributed to them.  See our resources for identity theft or contact us so we can walk you through the steps you need to take to close any fraudulently opened accounts and remove them from your child’s credit report.

Consider freezing your child’s credit report. You will have to freeze your report with each CRA separately:

Equifax 

Experian 

TransUnion

This fact sheet should not be used in lieu of legal advice. Any requests to reproduce this material, other than by individual victims for their own use, should be directed to itrc@idtheftcenter.org.