Be Alert for Identity Theft As Kids Spend More Time Online

CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey warned consumers to watch for identity theft, particularly as children spend more time indoors — and online — due to COVID-19.

Every smartphone, tablet and gaming device poses an increased risk of identity theft by way of malicious apps and social networks.

Parents and guardians may want to sit down with children and discuss the dangers of talking to strangers and giving out personal information.

“A lot of kids right now are spending more time online, so you want to make sure that there are adequate security mechanisms and that your passwords are up to date,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Also, talk to your kids about the potential for abuse of social media. A lot of people are going to try to befriend a child online, lure them in, and get them to give their password or some personal, identifiable information.”

The Attorney General also offers these tips:

  • Monitor social media use, even if children object.
  • Lay down ground rules as a protective measure.
  • Warn children that private information should not be shared on websites.
  • Caution children against downloading games or apps from third-party sites. It’s also a good idea to have an adult approve any downloads.
  • Maintain strict privacy settings on Facebook and other social networks.

Anyone who believes his or her child has been the victim of identity theft, contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-368-8808, the Eastern Panhandle Consumer Protection Office in Martinsburg at 304-267-0239 or visit the office online at www.wvago.gov.

more recommended stories