Identity Theft and Children in the Digital World

Primarily, HV Shred services businesses. Nevertheless, our goal is to help educate our community on best practices when it comes to identity theft. Education of our youth is key to a future of savvy adults who are in many ways already stewards for protecting private information.

In this case, a new summer movie is a great conversation starter. The Bling Ring, starring Emma Watson and directed by Sofia Coppola, is based on the true story of a group of teenagers who used social media to identify celebrities who weren’t at home – and then rob them.

The plot combines many elements that appeal to teens: Hollywood, celebrities, luxury, fashion, and naïve recklessness. Parents can find a takeaway, too – the opportunity to speak with their teens about the information they share online and the risks involved. As The Bling Ring demonstrated, what is posted online can lead to unintended consequences (such as, in Paris Hilton’s case, the theft of $2 million in jewelry).

First and foremost, strongly suggest your child limit how and with whom he or she shares information. Encourage your teens to set the privacy and security settings on accounts to their comfort level for information sharing.
The Bling Ring crew used publicly accessible social media posts by celebrities to determine their whereabouts and then burglarized vacant homes. While your family may not be targeted the way Hollywood celebrities are, don’t make the same mistake. A post like, “Going away with the family for Fourth of July!” or posting pictures from your hotel could serve as a helpful tip for a prowling burglar if they’re able to read it.

Protect Your Personal Information

Personal information posted online can be misused in a lot of unpleasant ways, including identity theft and stalking. According to the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, two in five missing teenagers ages 15 to 17 are abducted in connection with some kind of Internet activity.

Encourage your teen to be cautious about the personal information they share on social networking sites. Your teen should never reveal his or her address or phone number and use extra precautions to meet an online acquaintance, like going with a group of friends. Remind your teen not to accept friend requests from people they do not know.
Children and adults alike need to work together to protect personally identifying information.

For more tips on best practices in the world of identity theft prevent, please visit

by HV Shred