Wednesday, August 26, 2015


With school starting soon, school safety announcements will begin for all of us to remember. For drivers remember:

If a school bus has its stop paddle out and its red lights flashing, stop. This is for the safety of the kids getting on or off of the bus.
  • Be sure to go no faster than the speed limit in school zones. Deputies will be conducting traffic emphasis to be sure everyone remembers to go the speed limit.

There are other things that your student and you need to watch out for as school starts. With identity thieves, scammers and cyber thieves lurking, your student could become a target.

Protecting Personal Information. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends that you keep your child's personal information safe as you fill out paperwork for the new school year.

  • Safeguard your child's Social Security Number. Do not carry your child's Social Security Card with you. Do not give out your child's Social Security number. If someone asks for it, ask why it is needed and ask how your information will be protected.
  • Talk to your kids about what not to post on social media. Tell them not to post their name, address and date of birth.
  • Be sure that your children use strong passwords on their smartphones, tablets and laptops. Remind them to change their passwords on a regular basis and not to share their passwords with anyone.
  • Encourage your college student to shred sensitive documents. They may not have accumulated many sensitive documents, but pre-approved credit offers can be used in identity theft. Small shredders (cross cut shredders are best) are inexpensive and do not have to take up a lot of room.
  • Familiarize yourself with the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
  • While GPS on smartphones are great to tell you where your child is located, others can also know where they are. Encourage your teen and young adult to limit GPS use.


Federal Trade Commission:

Scam Targeting College Students. Let your college student know about this scam. Apparently, college students are receiving phone calls from people claiming that they are a police officer and that your child owes for a student loan and that if they do not pay with their credit card, they will be arrested or lose their current financial aid. The caller might call your child by name and Caller ID may show a phone number for a local police station. Let your student know that law enforcement is not going to call them about past due bills or loans, real or imagined, and that if they receive a call like this they should hang up.

Note: Long time readers probably recognize this as a variation on the same old theme; a caller claiming to be an official, trying to scare someone into paying money by giving access to their credit or debit card. Be sure your child knows not to fall for this scam.

Identity Theft Resource Center:

Cybersecurity Tips. Students can also protect their personal information and their mobile equipment by:

  • When using a computer in a public computer lab, assume that someone is watching over your shoulder. Do not check your bank balance or your credit card statement or check your social media account with public equipment.
  • If you are using your own laptop or tablet in a public place guard it. If you need to get a drink or go to the bathroom, take it with you. Even if it does not get stolen, you do not know who has accessed it while you were gone.
  • When you are not using your laptop or tablet turn it off. Malware can operate while it is in sleep mode.
  • Be sure that your operating system, applications (like Word or Excel) and your anti-virus software are set to update automatically. This is the way to ensure that bugs and security faults are patched to protect your computer.
  • In addition to using strong passwords, do not use the same password for multiple accounts.

Identity Theft Resource Center:

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