/ Money, Parenting

Are your kids putting you at risk of fraud?

Two children using a laptop

What are your children up to online? Chatting on Facebook? Researching for their homework? How about using your bank cards to buy stuff on the internet? If so, your kids are putting you at risk of fraud.

Apparently children between the ages of 7 and 16 are spending £64m a year online without their parents’ knowledge.

According to credit card protection company CPP this could be putting adults at risk of card fraud.

And that could be a lot of parents at risk, since two thirds of British kids (between the ages above) are buying bits and bobs online, spending £448m.

Of those who do a spot of internet shopping, four out of five use their parents’ cards. Worryingly, though, one in seven are doing so behind their parents’ backs, or so says the research by CPP. Naughty, naughty.

So if your little nippers are buying video games or the latest gadget online do you trust them to check the security of the websites they’re splashing out on? Sarah Blaney at CPP explains that children should be supervised:

‘Parents need to educate their children about the very real risks of shopping online. They need to ensure that their children only put sensitive information into sites that are encrypted, trusted and secure, and teach them about what signs to look for in a safe site.’

It’s very easy to spend on the internet, especially when online video games tempt children with such low prices. In April a 12-year-old boy racked up £625 on his mother’s credit while playing the online Facebook game Farmville – he was just buying stock and machinery for his virtual farm. Like you do…

Martyn Saville, Which? Money’s principal researcher, had this to say about the danger of kids spending online:

‘Parents have a responsibility to keep their cards, pins and passwords secure. Of course, it’s not practical to keep your wallet with you every second of the day, especially at home.

‘However, taking a few minutes to set up extra passwords with MasterCard SecureCode or Verified By Visa should stop even the most persistent teenager from using your card online. And if your child uses your PC, don’t ask your computer to automatically save passwords for future transactions.’

So keep an eye on your cards and make sure your kids aren’t buying online without your supervision, otherwise you could get more than you bargained for. Are you surprised at how many children manage to bypass their parents to shop online with their bank cards?

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