You might think, “it will never happen to my kids” but the reality is far different. Online scams and cyberattacks are common and kids are often seen as easy targets.

#1 Fake social media accounts impersonating people they know: Unfortunately, it’s easy for a stranger to create a fake social media profile and pretend they’re someone else. And in most cases, if a child receives a message from a friend or family member’s profile, they will believe it is that person communicating with them. They may ask for personally identifiable details, such as where they live or go to school, or what their parents’ names are, and use this to crack into a system or network.

#2. Doxing: Involves someone collecting and posting personal and sensitive information about your child online without their permission. The goal may be to harass or threaten your child or simply to prank them. Not only can it affect your child’s emotional and mental well-being, but it also puts their physical, financial, and identity security at risk of attack.

#3. Blackmail Scams (Sextortion): These involve a cybercriminal integrating themselves within your child’s online circle of friends and then blackmailing them claiming to have inappropriate pictures of the child that they’re going to share with everyone unless the child sends them certain types of inappropriate pictures. Many cases of sextortion start with sexting between two kids or teens.

#4. Smart Toys and Connected Devices:  Smart toys. smart devices that are created for monitor kids are not always safe and may not protect your kids’ privacy and data. They normally operate in a grey area and violate a lot of privacy. They might be taking information from kids who play games. Kids have to provide a lot of information just to play a game. Unfortunately, smart devices tend to have less security than other devices and software. This is, in part, because developers tend to favour convenience and usability over security.

#5. Fake emails or social media messages saying they won a competition: Competition-based scams are another popular strategy. Scammers create fake contests, and request credit card details to pay an entry fee or “secure your spot.” Sometimes, scammers will skip that step, let every child know they’re a winner, and charge a fake fee to “publish their work.” Once you hand over your credit card information, they’ll disappear.

#6. False influencer partnership offers: Today’s tweens and teens are growing up in a world dominated by social media. As a result, some might aspire to become an influencer and earn money by posting content online. Scammers will often reach out with an attractive offer to partner with a brand to spruik a product or service.

The goal? To get the target to hand over personal information, so the cybercriminal can then steal it or commit identity theft.

#7. Downloading freebies and signing up for free trials: Scammers are well aware of this and often try to entice kids and teens to enter their personal information to receive a free item, such as a wallpaper or album. They’ll then use those details to steal the buyer’s identity.

In some cases, scammers will attempt to get the child to sign up for a free trial of an app. Cybercriminals typically charge their targets right away and continue to do so each month.

As a parent, be aware that cyberattacks against children are happening every day. Educate them about being safe online, set up adult permissions, and be vigilant about what channels they are using.  #becybersafe

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