Your Kids’ Social Media May be Your Weak Link in Identity Security

David Stone |
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Perhaps the weakest links in the family security chain are the younger family members. The rise of social media as a gateway for children’s interaction with the world presents a substantial risk for families who otherwise try to keep a low profile. By posting details of their whereabouts, activities and plans, family members can inadvertently compromise their family’s security.

The rapid evolution of social media and online databases has significantly altered the safety and security landscape for families. Careless online behavior allows criminals to easily glean addresses, birthdays, family relationships, images and other personally identifiable information for ill purposes. For instance, in 2015, New Hampshire police arrested a burglary ring that had stolen at least $100,000 of cash and other valuables by targeting the homes of people who had shared their location via social media networks.  

Criminals can also use personal information to clone someone’s profile and gain acceptance into his circle of friends. Then they use that position to launch various confidence schemes. Other criminals have hacked into personal email accounts and then used the information to direct financial advisors to wire money to fictitious accounts.

Children represent a particular concern given their willingness to share personal details and build large followings as a sign of social status. Recently, a billionaire computer mogul with a $2.7 million personal security detail had to shut down his daughter’s Instagram account because she was sharing potentially dangerous details about the family’s vacation plans.

To guard against these cyber risks, families should set clear guidelines about what and when information can be shared online for the entire family. They should also engage a monitoring service that can alert them when privacy policies change and sensitive information becomes exposed online. These services can often help remove such information or spread misinformation to confuse potential criminals.

*This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information provided is not written or intended as tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for purposes of avoiding any Federal tax penalties. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel. Individuals involved in the estate planning process should work with an estate planning team, including their own personal legal or tax counsel. Neither the information presented nor any opinion expressed constitutes a representation by us of a specific investment or the purchase or sale of any securities. Asset allocation and diversification do not ensure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets. This material was developed and produced by Advisor Websites to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. Copyright 2022 Advisor Websites.

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