April 29, 2012 in Business

BBB Tip of the Week: Online privacy


• Online privacy: According to the Washington state attorney general, sharing personal information with the wrong people is one of your biggest risks online. Make sure your child knows to be cautious about sharing the following information:

• Address and phone number: Risks include making you a target for home break-ins as well as providing a stronger persona in identity theft cases.

• Names of people in your family, especially parents, including your mother’s maiden name. Risks include gaining access to even more confidential information as this data is often used for passwords or “secret question” answers, but it also exposes additional family members to ID theft, fraud and personal harm.

• Information about your car including license plate numbers, VIN (vehicle identification number), registration information, make, model and title number of car, insurance carrier, coverage limits, loan information, and driver’s license number. Risks include car theft, insurance fraud and access to more of your confidential information.

• Information about your work history and credit status. Risks include building a stronger fake persona and gaining more access to your financial records, plus ID theft.

• Social Security numbers. Risks include ID theft, fraud and access to additional information about you.

• It’s who you know: A 2011 study by Danah Boyd and Alice Marwick found that young adults are more wary of people they know – parents, teachers, classmates – than strangers due to the potential for those they know to share embarrassing information about them. Seven out of the 10 participants who reported having their privacy breached said it was perpetrated by people they knew.

Four tips for dealing with your child’s social media:

• Do engage your young people in a conversation about privacy.

• Don’t make them more fearful than they are – avoid extreme fear tactics.

• Do balance protective messages with those about responsibility and respect for others.

• Do discuss and encourage empowering privacy.

• For more information on how to handle your child’s social media presence, visit the AG’s website at www.atg.wa.gov/InternetSafety .aspx

More info or report scams: Visit the BBB website at www.bbb.org. Call (509)455-4200 or (800) 356-1007. Or sign up to receive our Scam Alerts at www.bbb.org/scam.

Holly Doering, BBB editor

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