Dear Mr. Dad: My son is starting college–more than 1000 miles from home–in the fall. He’s a remarkably responsible young man when it comes to academics and getting jobs. But he’s hopelessly naive about things like identity theft, credit card fraud, and the like. I don’t want to panic him but I think he needs to know a little bit more about how the world works. How can we convince him to pay more attention to his own security?
A: Well, the good news is that you and your son are absolutely typical of parents and young adults these days. Unfortunately, that’s also the bad news.
I had a horrifyingly eye-opening conversation with Robert Siciliano, a college and personal security expert. According to Bob, four out of five Americans will be the victims of some kind of theft or fraud during their lifetime. Most adults say they’re concerned about things like identity theft and they’ve taken steps like installing antivirus and Internet protection software on their computers and shredding personal documents. And about 80 percent of parents of college kids say they’ve talked with their children about these and other safety precautions. Sadly, the majority of the kids themselves seem to be suffering from a serious case of “it can’t happen to me” syndrome.