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7 Tips to Protect Your Family's Online Identity

Online security and data privacy is important to everyone now more than ever. It’s what prevents people from taking your money and your personal information. It’s especially important for young people to know how to protect their online identities and data.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received nearly 400,000 identity theft complaints in 2016, and 15% of those came from consumers aged 20-29. Moreover, according to a recent Javelin Strategy and Research study, house-holds headed by individuals aged 18-24 are the most vulnerable.

Even more disturbing among Javelin's findings is that 22 percent of students studied discovered they were victims of ID theft after being denied credit or contacted by a debt collector – that’s three times higher than other fraud victims! In fact, students were four times more likely to be taken advantage of by someone they know compared with other consumers.

So why in particular are young people so easy to target? For one thing, most students don’t have a credit history, making their blank slates easy to steal. They don't typically do a regular check of their credit reports, so If their identity is stolen, it can go undetected even for years.

Fortunately, there are several necessary precautions they can take to avoid it. Why don't you first take this fun identity theft quiz to see how much you really know. Then, if you want to ensure your family's information stays safe, consider checking out these seven prevention tips below:

7 Tips to Protect Your Family's Online Identity


Celebrities, politicians and major corporations get hacked. Even when they restore their accounts, there are “digital footprints” containing searchable breadcrumbs left in cyberspace. That’s why digital security is a must! Make sure your devices (including cell phones, PCs and tablets) are protected with antispyware, antivirus, anti-phishing and firewall software protection.

2. BEWARE BEFORE YOU SHARE! In previous generations, knowledge was power, but in today’s world, shared knowledge is power. To limit the transparency of you or your loved one’s online security (and hence vulnerability to theft), beware what you share. It’s ok to share some things, but it doesn’t mean you should reveal everything, including easy-to-access personal answers to security questions (i.e., “What city did you grow up in”)?

3. SHARING IS NOT CARING: Did you know "123456" and "Password" are the most common passwords used today, as well as "Star Wars" and "iloveyou"? Read “The 25 Most Popular Passwords of 2017" to see if yours is on the list. Then make sure your passwords are complex, contain a combo of letters, numbers and symbols--oh, and don’t tape them under your desk chair to remind you “in case you forget.” For some easy ways to create safe passwords, check out "Fun Passwords" by Cyber Civics' Diana Graber.