Talking to Teenagers About Personal Financial Security

February 24, 2015

Financial security is one aspect of personal safety that is becoming more and more relevant to each new generation. Teens and young adults today are facing threats to their financial security that their parents and grandparents could not have imagined. That said, it is up to parents to make sure that their teens are familiar with the strategies that will help keep their personal information safe from exploitation.

Early Financial Security Makes a World of Difference

Anyone that has experienced identity theft can tell you just how frustrating and disheartening it is to sort out this particular type of crime. All too often the victim has to deal with the consequences of identity theft for several years after the initial crime took place. Credit ratings can be ruined and entire bank accounts drained before the illegal activity is detected. Young adults just learning to manage their own finances can suffer even greater setbacks than adults can because they do not possess the same know-how when it comes to keeping track of their personal financial information.

How Can Parents Help?

There are several things that parents and guardians can do to help teens and young adults protect their financial information. Here are a few simple solutions:

  • Get a bank account. Simply cashing checks and carrying money around is poor personal security. Direct deposit services, check verification, and other safeguards are put in place by financial institutions to protect the integrity of client accounts.
  • Think twice about getting a credit card. Credit cards are certainly convenient and can be a very important financial tool when used correctly. However, many teens lack the responsibility required to manage a line of credit and may end up with a lot of debt in just a few months. Credit card information can also be stolen through fraudulent websites disguised to fool people unfamiliar with online shopping.
  • Talk to your teen about budgeting, saving, and spending. Financial identity theft can go undetected for a number of weeks, even months, simply because people do not know exactly how much money they have or where it is going. Show your teen how to develop a budget and how to allocate funds to it from each paycheck. Get them familiar with the information contained on bank and credit card statements so they can quickly identify any unauthorized charges or fraudulent activity.

Become Familiar With Evolving Payment Technology

RFID chips have made using payment cards a whole lot easier. Instead of swiping the card’s magnetic data strip and then entering a personal identification number (PIN), the card with the chip can simply be presented to the appropriate scanner, which will then read the information contained on the chip. While the usefulness of this technology for things like passports and identity cards is undisputed, certain security measures should be taken to thwart virtual pickpockets.

A Stealth Card is the same size as a standard payment card and can be safely carried in a purse or wallet. It blocks the incoming scan of electronic information thieves while still allowing the card to be used to make payments. This convenient device helps safeguard personal financial information.

Fight Back Against Identity Thieves

You can help your child stay safe from different threats to personal financial security. Make sure your teen is prepared to protect their information.