Teenagers, Social Networking Sites and Identity Theft

We have written this article for all the Teenagers, and your moms and dads.

Millions upon millions of teenagers are using the Social Networking Sites to chat with friends and meet new friends. The majority of people online are probably ok, but the law of averages demands that some are not. Some people are, quite frankly, stalkers and identity thieves. Those of you looking for a relationship may be the most vulnerable for a stalker. The identity thief and the person who wants to do you physical harm intentionally hunts for people who are open, trusting and looking for a relationship. They will put the time and effort into gaining your trust and finding out everything about your identity. Protect your identity. You must think before posting something on your blog.

If you post photo’s that show adult content and text about engaging in mature conduct you may very well be inviting people who want to harm you and identity thieves. Please be discreet and use good judgment. If you wouldn’t want your mom or dad to see it, then don’t post it. Never make your full name public and even your first name is may be a mistake. Instead, you could use a nickname. By doing this, no one will know who you really are, unless you want them to. Identity thieves are also online when you are, looking for those who post their address, phone number, driver license number, Social Security number, student ID number, and date of birth and the town you live in.

The identity thieves have the knowledge and skill to figure out a Social Security number when they have your year of birth and town you were born in. It would be fine to post the year you were born or your age, but when the thief or stalker combines this info with where you were born, they have the ability to figure out your SSN.

When meeting new people online you must never give your personal information to anybody. Just know that 15% of all identity theft is committed by a family member or real good friend who the victim thought they could trust. As far as I can tell, most teenagers join the social sites so they can meet someone new. Most of the time the new people you meet, are fun and decent. But the problem is that the identity thieves and stalkers have joined the same site as you and they are hunting.

If you do decide to meet someone in person, meet them somewhere public, like a mall or a restaurant with good parking and lots of lighting. A coffee shop is a good place to meet. Why not ask one your friends to go with you so you’re not alone? Protect your identity and don’t tell the new person where you live and meet somewhere that is at least ten miles from your home. When it is time to leave, walk to your car by yourself because they may write down your license number or follow you home when they see the kind of car you drive. Don’t go to their house until you really know them and when meeting someone new let your parents know where you are going and when you’re coming home.

Don’t worry about hurting anybody’s feelings if you don’t want to meet, just politely tell them your not interested and remember that these identity thieves and stalkers are quite good at their trade and they know how to sound sincere. If you are having a party please be careful about inviting new people. Your new friend may be OK but he may bring friends who are creeps and they are coming over only to steal items or look around the house for items and entry points so they can break in later. Always meet new people somewhere other than your place and trust your inner feelings (gut).

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