If It's Too Good To Be True...

September 1st, 2011

"If it's too good to be true, then it probably is."  Chances are your parents passed this advice to you and now you repeat the same adage to your children.  Unfortunately, our society is plagued with scammers targeting those who are most vulnerable, often our kids. 

As online activity increases, children are exposed to more opportunities to compromise their identities and succumb to fraudulent offers. For this very reason, it's critical that we prepare our children to distinguish truth from deception by teaching the following principles:

  • Consider the source.  Individuals or organizations should always have the appropriate credentials before goods or services are exchanged.  A source can be verified by contacting the Better Business Bureau, or by asking for referrals or a list of accreditations.  Remind children that pop-ups and spam emails are not reliable sources. 
  • Avoid sharing personal information.  Kids should not provide their name, date of birth, social security number, phone number, email, or physical address to any party without checking with an adult.  Refusing to provide personal information will protect your child from predators, as well as scammers who will bombard your him or her with fraudulent offers. 
  • Practice safe shopping.  If your teen shops online, be sure that he or she knows that bank account numbers or credit card numbers should only be shared with recognized, secure websites.  Secure websites typically display a padlock icon at the bottom of the screen. 
  • Beware of up-front fees.  Individuals or organizations that request pre-payment are unlikely to deliver the product or render services to your full satisfaction.    Explain to children that oftentimes they may not receive anything for the payment they made - their money will disappear along with the scammer.

And most importantly.

  • Be skeptical of appealing offers.  It's doubtful that your child will receive a free iPad for simply visiting a website or correctly answering a trivia question, especially if his or her personal information or a fee is required for "processing." 

Teach your kids to examine offers with a critical eye.  And keep reminding them: "If it's too good to be true, then it probably is!"

 

Posted by | Topic: Identity Theft
1 Comment(s):
Woah nelly, how about them appels!

Lottie - October 29th, 2011 at 6:26 am

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