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8 Safety Tips for Teens When 'Hanging Out' Online

ID Experts kicks off National Protect Your Identity Week with advice for online teenagers
BEAVERTON, Ore., Oct. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Online socializing--Facebook, instant messaging and texting--is the new "hanging out" among teens. When teens interact with friends online, they often share personal information that makes them vulnerable for identity theft. Scam artists are relying on teens to be impulsive and naive to steal personal information for their own gain. To kick off National Protect Your Identity Week, October 17-24, ID Experts offers eight safety tips for teenagers when online, to protect their identity and their financial future when it's time to apply for that first credit card or buy that first car:

1. Don't give out your numbers. This includes your social security number, driver's license number, debit card, phone card, insurance card, library card, medical ID card, or credit card.

2. Don't post your personal information online. Nearly 50% of Facebook users put enough personal information--including full name, full date of birth, address, phone number, or school--to enable thieves to fill out credit card applications.

3. Don't participate in email or social networking quizzes. These seemingly fun personality quizzes can access your personal profile information--your religion, political affiliation, wall posts--that could be used against you.

4. Don't be specific about where you are or where you are going. Naming your school, sports team, clubs, or where you work could leave a trail for an identity thief.

5. Set your profile to "private." Be in control of who can view your content. Only add people you know to your Friends list. A friend of a friend might not be someone you know.

6. Use a different, isolated email just for social networking. Never use the "trusted" email you use to communicate directly with your friends, coworkers and classmates.

7. Secure your connections. Password-protect your phone. Find out from your carrier if additional security features (encryption) or software (a malware protector) are available. Don't access your social networking sites or email from public Internet connections or public computers.

8. Be selective about what pictures you text or post on your page. Is it a photo you would want your parents to see? Treat your Internet activity like a digital tattoo. Once you post something, it cannot be taken back. Even if you erase the posting, there are cached versions and backups on servers across the country.

Beaverton, Oregon-based ID Experts is the leading provider of data breach and identity theft protection and recovery services. For a complete list of tips, and other resources, please visit www.idexpertscorp.com.

(i) http://clarkhoward.com/liveweb/shownotes/2007/08/16/12548/

(ii) Identity Theft Resource Center, 2009

SOURCE ID Experts

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