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Category: Internet Filtering & Security

5 lesser-known tips to protect your family from identity theft

protecting-your family from identity theft

In 2017 there were 16.7 million victims of identity fraud in the United States – a record high, according to a study by Javelin researchers. Children fall among the most vulnerable targets for identity theft due to the existence of so many points of entry.

These access points include tablets, mobile phones, computers, and good old-fashioned home break-ins. As a result, protecting your family from a security breach can feel overwhelming.

However, there are ways to reduce risk and increase identity theft protection. Use the following tips to keep you and your family safe.

1.  Use long, random passphrases

Unless your password is a random set of letters, numbers, and characters, it’s easier to crack than you might think.

To reduce your chances of a security breach, keep the following tips in mind:

Create a long passphrase.

Don’t write passwords on notes near your computer.

Don’t use identical passwords across multiple accounts.

Don’t use words or numbers that are significant to you.

Fraudsters scan public profiles for personal information and identifying details to try to crack passwords. That’s why it’s important not to use things like birth dates, pet names, or details about your kids in your passwords. Especially for the most important online accounts, such as your bank, insurance, or home Wi-Fi.

The easiest way to create secure passwords is to use random (meaningless) phrases mixed with numbers and symbols (e.g., Fox8thegiAntsandwich!).

Because it’s difficult to keep track of multiple random passwords, consider using a dedicated password manager to generate and save secure passwords. That way all your passwords are truly random and saved in a secure location.

2. Be careful using smart speakers and other automated toys

The Internet of Things and smart tech have created a more connected world than ever before. In fact, even some children’s toys can now connect to Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. However, not all smart tech is secure.

Several toy manufacturers have come under fire in the past few years for having inadequate security and, in some cases, data breaches that put millions of children’s personal information at risk.

If you decide to buy a smart toy, do your research ahead of time. One important thing to look for is where the data is stored. If data is stored directly on the toy, the risk should be relatively small. If the data is sent to a server, it could be stolen by hackers who eventually use the information for credit card fraud or identity theft. 

Play it safe by inputting only false info (e.g., fake birth dates and pseudonyms), or consider forgoing smart toys altogether.

3. Upgrade your home security

The digital world isn’t the only place your family is at risk. The home is often where identity theft begins. Burglars aren’t just looking for fancy jewelry or TVs—personal information can be much more valuable.

Always keep important documents such as passports, birth certificates, Social Security cards, and other sensitive records in a locked safe or file cabinet. And be extra cautious during high-risk periods when thieves are more active, such as over holidays—never share your vacation plans publicly until after you’ve returned home.

Also, think about investing in a home security system so you can keep tabs on your property while you’re away and protect your family 24/7.

4. Monitor and freeze your child’s credit

Children are likely targets for identity theft because they have clean credit and the theft is likely to go undetected for years until the child is older. By this time, the damage is done, making it difficult for the child to apply for credit, get school loans, and pursue job opportunities.

Luckily, there are steps you can take to prevent credit fraud. One of the best ways is credit monitoring to keep tabs on your child’s credit. If you notice any bank loans, credit card applications, or other activity, your child’s identity has likely been compromised and you need to take immediate action and report the fraud.

You can also go one step further to prepare and freeze your child’s credit until they’re older. A credit freeze limits access to your child’s credit file, making it harder for would-be thieves to open accounts in your child’s name.

5. Talk to your kids about internet safety

Once your child can use their own digital devices, they’re at a greater risk of a security breach. Talk to your children early and often about how to stay safe on the internet. Teach them to avoid sharing personal information (such as full names, birth dates, addresses, or school names), talking to strangers online, and making online purchases without your permission.

By limiting how much information you share online, you can protect your family from child identity theft, credit fraud, or worse.

As the world becomes more connected, thieves and fraudsters have more opportunities to take advantage of you and your family. Follow these tips to protect yourself and your children for years to come.

By Andrea Harvey

In 2017 there were 16.7 million victims of identity fraud in the United States – a record high, according to a study by Javelin researchers. Children fall among the most vulnerable targets for identity theft due to the existence of so many points of entry.

These access points include tablets, mobile phones, computers, and good old-fashioned home break-ins. As a result, protecting your family from a security breach can feel overwhelming.

However, there are ways to reduce risk and increase identity theft protection. Use the following tips to keep you and your family safe.

1.  Use long, random passphrases

Unless your password is a random set of letters, numbers, and characters, it’s easier to crack than you might think.

To reduce your chances of a security breach, keep the following tips in mind:

Create a long passphrase.

Don’t write passwords on notes near your computer.

Don’t use identical passwords across multiple accounts.

Don’t use words or numbers that are significant to you.

Fraudsters scan public profiles for personal information and identifying details to try to crack passwords. That’s why it’s important not to use things like birth dates, pet names, or details about your kids in your passwords. Especially for the most important online accounts, such as your bank, insurance, or home Wi-Fi.

The easiest way to create secure passwords is to use random (meaningless) phrases mixed with numbers and symbols (e.g., Fox8thegiAntsandwich!).

Because it’s difficult to keep track of multiple random passwords, consider using a dedicated password manager to generate and save secure passwords. That way all your passwords are truly random and saved in a secure location.

2. Be careful using smart speakers and other automated toys

The Internet of Things and smart tech have created a more connected world than ever before. In fact, even some children’s toys can now connect to Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. However, not all smart tech is secure.

Several toy manufacturers have come under fire in the past few years for having inadequate security and, in some cases, data breaches that put millions of children’s personal information at risk.

If you decide to buy a smart toy, do your research ahead of time. One important thing to look for is where the data is stored. If data is stored directly on the toy, the risk should be relatively small. If the data is sent to a server, it could be stolen by hackers who eventually use the information for credit card fraud or identity theft. 

Play it safe by inputting only false info (e.g., fake birth dates and pseudonyms), or consider forgoing smart toys altogether.

3. Upgrade your home security

The digital world isn’t the only place your family is at risk. The home is often where identity theft begins. Burglars aren’t just looking for fancy jewelry or TVs—personal information can be much more valuable.

Always keep important documents such as passports, birth certificates, Social Security cards, and other sensitive records in a locked safe or file cabinet. And be extra cautious during high-risk periods when thieves are more active, such as over holidays—never share your vacation plans publicly until after you’ve returned home.

Also, think about investing in a home security system so you can keep tabs on your property while you’re away and protect your family 24/7.

4. Monitor and freeze your child’s credit

Children are likely targets for identity theft because they have clean credit and the theft is likely to go undetected for years until the child is older. By this time, the damage is done, making it difficult for the child to apply for credit, get school loans, and pursue job opportunities.

Luckily, there are steps you can take to prevent credit fraud. One of the best ways is credit monitoring to keep tabs on your child’s credit. If you notice any bank loans, credit card applications, or other activity, your child’s identity has likely been compromised and you need to take immediate action and report the fraud.

You can also go one step further to prepare and freeze your child’s credit until they’re older. A credit freeze limits access to your child’s credit file, making it harder for would-be thieves to open accounts in your child’s name.

5. Talk to your kids about internet safety

Once your child can use their own digital devices, they’re at a greater risk of a security breach. Talk to your children early and often about how to stay safe on the internet. Teach them to avoid sharing personal information (such as full names, birth dates, addresses, or school names), talking to strangers online, and making online purchases without your permission.

By limiting how much information you share online, you can protect your family from child identity theft, credit fraud, or worse.

As the world becomes more connected, thieves and fraudsters have more opportunities to take advantage of you and your family. Follow these tips to protect yourself and your children for years to come.

By Andrea Harvey

4 Apps to Keep Your Kids Safe Online

Keeping Kids Safe Online

The internet offers a wealth of education and opportunity for kids, but many parents worry about the dangerous side of the online world—namely, the opportunity for their kids to stumble across inappropriate content or unsafe websites.

Or a child may unknowingly reveal private information to a stranger. This is where a few apps come in handy.

These four apps were designed with parents’ concerns in mind to help you keep your kids safe online.

1. Kaspersky Safe Kids

This app offers everything you need to monitor your kids’ smartphone activity, from blocking access to adult content and suspicious search results to monitoring app usage and setting device screen time limits. This app also offers tips from psychologists on how to teach kids about the dangers present online and how to take proper precautions.

Download the Kaspersky Safe Kids app for iOS devices or Android devices.


2. Kidgy

Wish you could know where your kid is at all times? Now you can with the Kidgy app. This location-sharing app makes it easy to keep track of your family and monitor their online activity. Check the real-time location of your kids, receive alerts when they leave from or arrive at home or school, set tasks for them to complete, and monitor text messaging.

Download the Kidgy app for iOS devices or Android devices.


3. KidzSearch Filtering

Sometimes something as simple or harmless as a misspelling can result in a search result gone afoul. Instead of letting your kid use Google.com for searches, KidzSearch automatically filters Google to remove inappropriate content and unsafe websites. With this app, your kids can use the internet as they typically would, and the parental filter helps keep them safe. This is the same filtering being used on Safe Search Kids, only through an app for mobile devices.

Download the KidzSearch app for iOS devices or Android devices.

KidzSearch also available on Kindle Fire / Amazon.


4. DinnerTime Plus

Getting kids to disconnect from their devices isn’t an easy task. This app makes it easier to require phone breaks. With a few clicks of a button, you can set time limits, requiring your kid to take scheduled breaks during dinner time, study time, and bedtime. You can also set schedules for how much time they can spend online and receive real-time usage monitoring.

Download the DinnerTime Plus app for iOS devices or Android devices.



With a few apps on your phone, you can always oversee your kids’ online activity. And remember, for these apps to work, you and your kids should have reliable internet access on your phones.

Setting up a hotspot will keep your child connected so you can use these apps and monitor their whereabouts and online searches any time you need.

Consider running a speed test as you’ll want to make sure you get at least 10 Mbps from your internet connection (more if you use a lot of devices in your home).

Once your apps are installed, you can feel more at ease with your kids’ online activity.

Safe Search Kids Victoria Schmid enjoys writing about technology for the “everyday” person. She is a specialist in online business marketing and consumer technology. She has a background in broadcast journalism.

The internet offers a wealth of education and opportunity for kids, but many parents worry about the dangerous side of the online world—namely, the opportunity for their kids to stumble across inappropriate content or unsafe websites.

Or a child may unknowingly reveal private information to a stranger. This is where a few apps come in handy.

These four apps were designed with parents’ concerns in mind to help you keep your kids safe online.

1. Kaspersky Safe Kids

This app offers everything you need to monitor your kids’ smartphone activity, from blocking access to adult content and suspicious search results to monitoring app usage and setting device screen time limits. This app also offers tips from psychologists on how to teach kids about the dangers present online and how to take proper precautions.

Download the Kaspersky Safe Kids app for iOS devices or Android devices.


2. Kidgy

Wish you could know where your kid is at all times? Now you can with the Kidgy app. This location-sharing app makes it easy to keep track of your family and monitor their online activity. Check the real-time location of your kids, receive alerts when they leave from or arrive at home or school, set tasks for them to complete, and monitor text messaging.

Download the Kidgy app for iOS devices or Android devices.


3. KidzSearch Filtering

Sometimes something as simple or harmless as a misspelling can result in a search result gone afoul. Instead of letting your kid use Google.com for searches, KidzSearch automatically filters Google to remove inappropriate content and unsafe websites. With this app, your kids can use the internet as they typically would, and the parental filter helps keep them safe. This is the same filtering being used on Safe Search Kids, only through an app for mobile devices.

Download the KidzSearch app for iOS devices or Android devices.

KidzSearch also available on Kindle Fire / Amazon.


4. DinnerTime Plus

Getting kids to disconnect from their devices isn’t an easy task. This app makes it easier to require phone breaks. With a few clicks of a button, you can set time limits, requiring your kid to take scheduled breaks during dinner time, study time, and bedtime. You can also set schedules for how much time they can spend online and receive real-time usage monitoring.

Download the DinnerTime Plus app for iOS devices or Android devices.



With a few apps on your phone, you can always oversee your kids’ online activity. And remember, for these apps to work, you and your kids should have reliable internet access on your phones.

Setting up a hotspot will keep your child connected so you can use these apps and monitor their whereabouts and online searches any time you need.

Consider running a speed test as you’ll want to make sure you get at least 10 Mbps from your internet connection (more if you use a lot of devices in your home).

Once your apps are installed, you can feel more at ease with your kids’ online activity.

Safe Search Kids Victoria Schmid enjoys writing about technology for the “everyday” person. She is a specialist in online business marketing and consumer technology. She has a background in broadcast journalism.

How to Track Your Child’s Text Messages with Cocospy

How to Track Text Messages

Many facets of parenting have certainly changed over the years. On one hand, children are increasingly preoccupied with their smartphones and this includes having direct contact with friends at all hours. On the positive side, cellphones allow parents to keep in constant contact with their kids no matter where they are.

With great tools for learning and communication comes added responsibility for the child and parents. It’s important to have regular conversations in order to keep the relationship open. This builds trust on both sides. However, the younger a child is, the more a parent may feel the need to monitor their child’s computer activity. This has become standard practice for good parenting, but what about phone use?

Now it’s possible to read someone’s text messages without accessing that person’s phone and it’s free of charge. Cocospy has one of the best free text message tracking software on the planet. To be able to track your child’s text messages you should;

Create a free account

It is good to know that before you can be able to enjoy the tracking services of this fantastic tracking app, you need to secure an account. That is because; your account will allow you back-end access to your tracking dashboard where you can view various options and set up you tracking according to your needs. When signing up for cocospy, you are only required to provide necessary personal information, password, and then you are good to go.

Download the app

After signing up for a cocospy, you can now download the cocospy app and access it. The reason why you will want to make sure that you download the app is that it is the only way through which you can be able to get the tracking link. Remember that cocospy does not need you to download the app or install it on the target phone. What happens is that after you have entered the required details about the targeted phone, you are provided with a unique text tracking link to be used on the target phone.

By clicking the link, you shall have initiated the tracking process. It is therefore recommended that after installing the tracker using the link, you get rid of the text message because the user might be able to use it to access the tracker which can result in misleading information.

Get to tracking

After signing up for an account and activating your tracking, you should be able to see all the incoming and outgoing text messages. You need to know that you can regulate how often you need the message updates. However, you should understand that the higher the update rates, the more battery power your phone will consume because it means that the app will be running most of the time.

Other benefits of text message tracking

Other than tracking what your children are chatting about, text message tracking can be used for different things. However, it is imperative to ensure that before you monitor someone’s message to ensure that you are not breaking the law. Text message tracking has been used by couples who are extra protective and would do anything to ensure that their relationship is built on trust.

Also, some employers have been using text message tracking software to monitor their employees. Remember that there is some top secret information that should never be shared with your competitor.

tracking text messages

However, some employees cannot resist a little bribe; hence, it is better not to take chances or else; you may risk shutting down your business. However, tracking your employees are only allowed in countries where the law agrees,

Conclusion

Children text a lot compared to how much they call each other, that is why you always need to ensure that you know everyone they chat to and what they are talking about. The good thing is that these kids only text their closest friends and people you trust; hence, it is much easier to tell the kind of things that they take much interest in. It is also good to know that text messaging still exposes the young one to more serious risks like predators and cyberbullying.

However, by tracking their chats, you should be able to stop any suspicious activity at the beginning. Remember that cyberbullying, and child predators need enough time before they can become full-blown, and the results start showing.

Many facets of parenting have certainly changed over the years. On one hand, children are increasingly preoccupied with their smartphones and this includes having direct contact with friends at all hours. On the positive side, cellphones allow parents to keep in constant contact with their kids no matter where they are.

With great tools for learning and communication comes added responsibility for the child and parents. It’s important to have regular conversations in order to keep the relationship open. This builds trust on both sides. However, the younger a child is, the more a parent may feel the need to monitor their child’s computer activity. This has become standard practice for good parenting, but what about phone use?

Now it’s possible to read someone’s text messages without accessing that person’s phone and it’s free of charge. Cocospy has one of the best free text message tracking software on the planet. To be able to track your child’s text messages you should;

Create a free account

It is good to know that before you can be able to enjoy the tracking services of this fantastic tracking app, you need to secure an account. That is because; your account will allow you back-end access to your tracking dashboard where you can view various options and set up you tracking according to your needs. When signing up for cocospy, you are only required to provide necessary personal information, password, and then you are good to go.

Download the app

After signing up for a cocospy, you can now download the cocospy app and access it. The reason why you will want to make sure that you download the app is that it is the only way through which you can be able to get the tracking link. Remember that cocospy does not need you to download the app or install it on the target phone. What happens is that after you have entered the required details about the targeted phone, you are provided with a unique text tracking link to be used on the target phone.

By clicking the link, you shall have initiated the tracking process. It is therefore recommended that after installing the tracker using the link, you get rid of the text message because the user might be able to use it to access the tracker which can result in misleading information.

Get to tracking

After signing up for an account and activating your tracking, you should be able to see all the incoming and outgoing text messages. You need to know that you can regulate how often you need the message updates. However, you should understand that the higher the update rates, the more battery power your phone will consume because it means that the app will be running most of the time.

Other benefits of text message tracking

Other than tracking what your children are chatting about, text message tracking can be used for different things. However, it is imperative to ensure that before you monitor someone’s message to ensure that you are not breaking the law. Text message tracking has been used by couples who are extra protective and would do anything to ensure that their relationship is built on trust.

Also, some employers have been using text message tracking software to monitor their employees. Remember that there is some top secret information that should never be shared with your competitor.

tracking text messages

However, some employees cannot resist a little bribe; hence, it is better not to take chances or else; you may risk shutting down your business. However, tracking your employees are only allowed in countries where the law agrees,

Conclusion

Children text a lot compared to how much they call each other, that is why you always need to ensure that you know everyone they chat to and what they are talking about. The good thing is that these kids only text their closest friends and people you trust; hence, it is much easier to tell the kind of things that they take much interest in. It is also good to know that text messaging still exposes the young one to more serious risks like predators and cyberbullying.

However, by tracking their chats, you should be able to stop any suspicious activity at the beginning. Remember that cyberbullying, and child predators need enough time before they can become full-blown, and the results start showing.

How to Properly Educate Your Kids on the Possible Dangers Online

Kids Discuss Computer Safety with Kids

The conversation around keeping your children safe has come a long way from not talking to strangers and being home before dark. Internet safety for kids has become one of the most challenging parental discussions to have. It’s turning out to be a required conversation at a very young age.

Children are interacting with the internet at higher rates than any other age group. The world wide web presents both a network of engaging content and opportunities for copious harmful interactions. It’s vital to have a comprehensive discussion about all the inherent dangers online.

Internet safety for kids is not as simple as limiting what websites they can access. The myriad forms of communication alone are almost impossible to keep track of in real time. Rather than attempting to chase down all the potential dangers, it is far more efficient to educate children about digital responsibility and how to interact with the vast world of the internet.

Coaching children on the classic dangers online like communicating with strangers, accessing inappropriate content, and opening files or documents they are not sure about is vital. Children can often see the internet as an “imaginary realm,” where online friends only exist in the online world. Parents must make it plain to children that anything that happens online can lead to physical dangers.

While personal safety is paramount, it’s also vital to educate children on the impact their online presence can have. There is a plethora of examples of kids bullying or cyberstalking each other to the point of physical harm via online platforms. It’s just as essential to show the importance of being thoughtful of others online as it is to warn of other dangers.

Steps to Increase the Online Security Awareness

Children often confuse online security with unnecessary restrictions. It’s crucial to be honest with them about why security is so important. It can be difficult for the younger generation to understand such issues as stolen identities and hacking banking information. However, if you can teach them through certain behaviors and make them aware of potential danger zones, you will instill an appropriate view of online security.

Set Up Ground Rules

Limiting screen time or time on the internet has become a trendy way to handle children’s online behaviors. However, it’s getting increasingly difficult to achieve this lofty goal. School work, communication with friends, and gameplay have all been transported to the online world. Thus, it could be perceived as extremely limiting to simply say “only two hours of internet per day.”

However, some standard ground rules are reasonable and beneficial. For example, using the internet in a shared space like the dining or living room. It can help to limit inappropriate online activities. If you encourage children to share any messages or information they find offensive with you, it will help to discover bullying or cyberstalking before it becomes too impactful.

The key to the ground rules is being open and honest about why said rules exist. Clearly explaining what is good and bad on the internet will go a lot further than dictating what is off limits.

Utilize Built-In Security Settings and Features

Most operating systems take young family members into account with certain family-friendly features. Fortunately, these features go a lot further now than restricting certain websites or content.

For example, parents can allot funds to the kid’s online account to use them in the app store. This can remove the temptation for children to spend unbeknownst to parents. Additionally, parents can limit the time spent online with timers, restrict internet content or certain apps, and block the adjustment of specific system settings.

Be Mindful About Online Gaming

Online gaming has become more social than ever. Almost every game has some form of chat component, with many utilizing actual voice chat. Encouraging children to be wary of what information they divulge online is essential. While games are virtual and can always be reset, real information can put your family in danger.

Consider utilizing a VPN while gaming. A VPN can hide the IP address from other users. An IP address could be used to locate your home, even if the child doesn’t give away your exact location.

Be the Example

Internet safety for kids has become one of the most challenging aspects of parenting in modern times. Being honest about the dangers of online interactions is crucial. This, along with supplying legitimate reasons for online restrictions can ease the tension caused by discussions about the internet. Model good internet behaviors for children by adhering to the same ground rules as you ask them to follow.

The conversation around keeping your children safe has come a long way from not talking to strangers and being home before dark. Internet safety for kids has become one of the most challenging parental discussions to have. It’s turning out to be a required conversation at a very young age.

Children are interacting with the internet at higher rates than any other age group. The world wide web presents both a network of engaging content and opportunities for copious harmful interactions. It’s vital to have a comprehensive discussion about all the inherent dangers online.

Internet safety for kids is not as simple as limiting what websites they can access. The myriad forms of communication alone are almost impossible to keep track of in real time. Rather than attempting to chase down all the potential dangers, it is far more efficient to educate children about digital responsibility and how to interact with the vast world of the internet.

Coaching children on the classic dangers online like communicating with strangers, accessing inappropriate content, and opening files or documents they are not sure about is vital. Children can often see the internet as an “imaginary realm,” where online friends only exist in the online world. Parents must make it plain to children that anything that happens online can lead to physical dangers.

While personal safety is paramount, it’s also vital to educate children on the impact their online presence can have. There is a plethora of examples of kids bullying or cyberstalking each other to the point of physical harm via online platforms. It’s just as essential to show the importance of being thoughtful of others online as it is to warn of other dangers.

Steps to Increase the Online Security Awareness

Children often confuse online security with unnecessary restrictions. It’s crucial to be honest with them about why security is so important. It can be difficult for the younger generation to understand such issues as stolen identities and hacking banking information. However, if you can teach them through certain behaviors and make them aware of potential danger zones, you will instill an appropriate view of online security.

Set Up Ground Rules

Limiting screen time or time on the internet has become a trendy way to handle children’s online behaviors. However, it’s getting increasingly difficult to achieve this lofty goal. School work, communication with friends, and gameplay have all been transported to the online world. Thus, it could be perceived as extremely limiting to simply say “only two hours of internet per day.”

However, some standard ground rules are reasonable and beneficial. For example, using the internet in a shared space like the dining or living room. It can help to limit inappropriate online activities. If you encourage children to share any messages or information they find offensive with you, it will help to discover bullying or cyberstalking before it becomes too impactful.

The key to the ground rules is being open and honest about why said rules exist. Clearly explaining what is good and bad on the internet will go a lot further than dictating what is off limits.

Utilize Built-In Security Settings and Features

Most operating systems take young family members into account with certain family-friendly features. Fortunately, these features go a lot further now than restricting certain websites or content.

For example, parents can allot funds to the kid’s online account to use them in the app store. This can remove the temptation for children to spend unbeknownst to parents. Additionally, parents can limit the time spent online with timers, restrict internet content or certain apps, and block the adjustment of specific system settings.

Be Mindful About Online Gaming

Online gaming has become more social than ever. Almost every game has some form of chat component, with many utilizing actual voice chat. Encouraging children to be wary of what information they divulge online is essential. While games are virtual and can always be reset, real information can put your family in danger.

Consider utilizing a VPN while gaming. A VPN can hide the IP address from other users. An IP address could be used to locate your home, even if the child doesn’t give away your exact location.

Be the Example

Internet safety for kids has become one of the most challenging aspects of parenting in modern times. Being honest about the dangers of online interactions is crucial. This, along with supplying legitimate reasons for online restrictions can ease the tension caused by discussions about the internet. Model good internet behaviors for children by adhering to the same ground rules as you ask them to follow.