Many parents don’t fear that their child could be a scammer’s next victim of an online scam. However, scammers don’t care how old you are or if you’re just a kid. They will target anyone they can to get their hands on some extra cash to use on their living expenses. They will target your children through online advertisements claiming that they won a contest, through virtual online chatting worlds where they can ask for their information, or through giving your credit card information away to an online criminal. This is why it’s important to know how to protect children from online scams.
Types of Online Scams Your Children Can Face
Children can see an online pop-up advertisement, an email, or a text message that tells them to click on the link in order to win a prize. The child clicks on the link and it takes them to a fake website where it instructs them to fill out their personal information.
In some instances, it might even ask them to take their parent’s credit card information without their permission so that they can get the prize. However, all the scammer will do with this information is commit identity theft and steal any money under the child’s or parent’s name.
Online Shopping Scams
Children love keeping up with the latest trends, the most popular music/ringtones, and too good to be true offers that include free things. However, scammers know this and will create fake online stores to lure children and teenagers into buying the fake products they are supposedly selling. Kids go crazy over the good deals and start making purchases with their parent’s credit card, not realizing that the online store is a scam.
Downloading Fake Games
Scammers create fake game downloads on scam websites that claim you can download free games on their website. However, when children download these games they are actually downloading viruses and malware onto the device they are using.
This could steal your information if your child has done this, which could also mean that they could possibly access your bank account information. If they do this, they can drain your bank account just because your child thought they were downloading a game.
Virtual Gaming Catfish Friends
There are scammers that go onto virtual worlds, pretending to be the same age as the child they are talking to. They build a fake friendship with the child, and once they gain their victim’s trust, they start asking them for their personal information. The child gives their fake friend their personal information, and the scammer can then use it to commit child identity theft.
There are some instances where an online predator is trying to kidnap the child by asking for their personal information, so it’s always a good idea to educate your child to never share their personal information under any circumstance. Teach them to always create fake names in virtual worlds and to never give someone they don’t know their actual information under any circumstance.
Virtual Gaming Memberships/Currency
Scammers pretend that there are virtual memberships and currencies for a certain game that children are playing. They try giving children a link to purchase this membership or currency at a better value than the game is offering, and the children click the link not knowing any better.
They enter their information and provide scammers with their parent’s credit cards, which can lead to child identity fraud and scammers stealing their parent’s money. The fake website can also download malware and viruses onto the device they are using.
How to Protect Your Children From Online Scams
- Teach them the importance of how they should not be clicking on random links or going on random websites they don’t know about without parental permission.
- Set up parental controls so that they can only go on certain websites that you approve of.
- Teach them not to tell strangers about their personal information and only allow them to chat on safe-chat websites, where they filter what people are saying.
- Teach them about the dangers of catfishing, and how anyone can pretend to be anyone they want to be.
- Don’t let them download things without your approval.
- When giving them the approval to go on websites or download things, make sure that the website or download looks legit before proceeding.
- If something is asking for a bunch of personal information in order to download it, then that is usually a GIANT red flag that it’s a scam.
- Keep your bank account information and your credit cards hidden from your children.
- Don’t let your children purchase things without your permission.
- Don’t let your computer remember your credit card information for future purchases if you have a child.
- If you have to let your device remember your financial information, put password protection on it that your child does not know so that they can’t access it without your permission.
- Check on their financial reports and credit score once a month to make sure their information isn’t stolen.
- Report any scam regarding you or your child to the FTC.
Social Catfish is Here to Help You!
At Social Catfish, we want to help you verify the identities of those who might seem suspicious to you. If you have their name, email address, phone number, social media username, or image, you can reverse search and see who the suspected person was that you’ve been in contact with if you think your child has been a victim of online scams.