From Tim Woda, internet safety expert, the following are ten common online scams that children maybe susceptible to.
Kids love clothes, especially teenagers. They want to be trendy and have all the latest designer styles when they know they can’t afford it. So scammers create ads for all these “discount” online stores that supposedly sell designer goods. However, designers do not license these companies to sell their goods, and all the products are fake. Let your children know not to be tempted by these online stores, because they are likely not what they advertise.
“Free” music downloads and ringtones are a tease. The purpose is to lure you kid in, for a limited time, and then inform them that they have to pay for further use of the service. The programs collect personal or bank information and charge your card with all these fees and can possibly steal your identity. Stick to music programs like ITunes, or just by CDs to play it safe.
3. Free Stuff
Most “free” stuff offered on the internet is a ploy to collect information. Tell your kids to avoid the freebies, they are usually a trap.
Kids also love contests because they love to play and win. They don’t realize the prizes aren’t real, and nobody ever wins. These contests are used to collect information and steal identities. Avoid online contests unless it’s for a known entity like a magazine.
Teenagers may be attracted to lottery scams. Anything that requires you to send money to get money is an obvious scam. Most of these fake lotteries always require some type of wire transfer or bank information. Warn your kids to stay far away from “free” money on the internet..
6. Fake Credit Cards
College bound kids love the idea of credit cards, and scammers know this. So stick to applying for cards from known banks, and don’t be afraid to call and check up on an offer.
Downloading games opens your browser up to viruses. On top of that, some of the games ask for way too much information for the kids to play. Then after the child is hooked they want you to pay to continue to play. Just don’t do it.
8. Fake Scholarships
College bound kids are always looking for money for school. Scammers target them with fake scholarships, and when they get their information, they steal their identity. Have your kids apply for scholarships through government websites, and financial aid office referrals. Parents, you can always call the supposed donor and check on the authenticity of the award.
9. Fake Jobs
In this economy, everybody needs a job. Scammers target young people with these dream jobs and when the kids apply, they steal their identities. The other side of the scam is that the job requires some fake training that the applicant has to pay for. Real jobs rarely make applicants pay a fee.
10. Fake Memberships
For small children, becoming a member of a club is exciting. But it can turn into a nightmare once mom gets the bill. Don’t allow your kids to join any type of online club or organization for any reason. Only you should be signing them up for online activities.