Back to school

Experts Warn Parents About Popular Back-to-School Signs

The Better Business Bureau released tips on Tuesday urging parents to be safe when sharing back-to-school pictures online. The photos often involve kids holding a board with their full name, age, height and other details. Scammers or predators could use this information to commit identity theft or earn your child's trust. 

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Many families have made it a back-to-school tradition to fill out chalkboard signs with their kids' personal information and then share them online, but some parents are opting out.

“So, we did buy a chalkboard like that, and I will be writing it out and taking pictures for myself, I will not be posting on social media,” said Magdalena Walczyszyn.

“We take pictures, and we keep them amongst ourselves and among our family members, so we will text it to our family members, but we do not put it on social media at all, because you ever know who can grab it and share it,” said Jess Campbell. 

Cyber security experts urge parents to be mindful of what they share online. Simple information like your kid's name, height or age can give access to scammers.

“This can all be information that can be used in a pretty bad way, in a number of ways whether it's someone trying to get your password or someone trying to target your child directly,” said Hank Schless, Senior Manager of Security Solutions for Lookout. “A lot of times, people use their kids' names as passwords or things about their family as passwords.”

Experts say this is a good time to check your privacy settings to get a better understanding of who can see your pictures. 

“I think everybody should just check in periodically. It's good online hygiene, the same way you are told to rotate your passwords every few months and do things like that,” said Hank Schless, Senior Manager of Security Solutions for Lookout. 

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is also warning parents to be careful with the information posted online. The organization has seen an uptick in chatter on the dark web. 

“We know these predators are trying to target our children, they are trying to prey on them and then oftentimes are gaining that trust with the child with information they find elsewhere and that could be from a parent's social media accounts,” said Child Advocate Callahan Walsh for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.  There are resources available for parents who want to learn more about online safety here.

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