Our parents told us it’s best to always tell the truth. I’ve been preaching that to my kids since they were old enough to understand.
Still, more and more kids are lying about their age online to create accounts for Snapchat, TikTok, and apps that require users to be at least 13 years old.
Lying about their age is quite common and it should be a lie every parent tells when they sign up for new accounts. Here’s why: Hackers and online scammers are more successful at stealing the identities of people who always tell the truth.
When apps and new accounts ask for your date of birth, it’s always best to lie. Unless it’s a bank, credit card, or the government, there’s no need to give an app your actual date of birth.
Especially free apps that require a date of birth in the account set up. And it is one of the crucial items that hackers need to steal your identity.
Here’s how it can happen:
Apps and websites are often hacked and all user information in their database is stolen. That data often includes names, email addresses and dates of birth. It happens all the time.
The thief puts the database up for sale on the dark web and other bad guys buy it up en masse. Let’s say they get your basic information in the event of a security breach. They search for those users on social media to gather more information to build profiles of their victims.
That information may include your family members. If your mom is on Facebook, she probably mentions her maiden name. That’s a huge asset for bad guys, as “Mother’s Maiden Name” is often required to access accounts and change passwords.
If the bad guy can’t get your date of birth, the other information won’t be worth that much and they’ll target someone else.
So if you sign up for a new account that doesn’t require your date of birth, make yourself 5 or 10 years younger. Use the first or last day of the month in which you were born. It won’t prevent identity theft alone, but it will make it difficult for the bad guys.