Teaching Your Kids to Avoid Scams

A bored looking young girl searching the web on a tablet device

Unfortunately with our kids spending so much time on their phones and online there comes the risk of being scammed.

While we as adults might be wise to the tricks scammers use- Nigerian princes included- our children probably aren’t.

To avoid being out of pocket and your child being taken advantage of, it’s wise to show kids how to spot the scams.

Free trial offers

Beware the enticing free trial offers, which children can often be taken in by. These free trials often start charging, sometimes after only a week. Plus, it’s not just scammers who use this ruse. Legitimate apps also offer a free trial, however children may not realise that charging will start soon.

It’s wise, therefore, to set a rule that you must be consulted about free trials.

Fake Wi-Fi hotspots

If a free Wi-Fi hotspot is available, it’s best to avoid it. Even ones offered by reputable businesses can be easily hacked by fraudsters looking to steal information.

Scam texts from the ‘bank’

If your kids are old enough to have a bank account, they need to be aware of this one. A common scam involves sending texts from a ‘bank’ asking the receiver to log in using a link provided. Clicking on the link and entering information can give the fraudster access to your bank details. It’s advisable to only ever log in to your bank using the official app or website.

Phone calls saying they owe money to HMRC

Unfortunately, scammers are now going so far as to call mobile phones and tell the owner that they owe money to the government. They also threaten to send the police around immediately if payment isn’t made on the spot. Calls of this nature may well frighten unsuspecting young people and knowledge of this scam can help them know it’s safe to ignore and hang up.

The free stuff scam

Who doesn’t like free stuff? Unfortunately, scammers ask for you to give up personal information to get the ‘free stuff’, which gives them access to your data. Teenagers who may not be aware of such scams can easily be taken in by exciting offers.


Not only can it be devastating to find out that the person you’ve ‘connected’ with doesn’t exist, but catfishing can also extract money from unsuspecting young people.

Online relationships can seem real but sadly sometimes scammers use fake profiles to ask for money. Plus, there is a very real risk of the catfisher being an adult predator who then asks to meet with their under-age acquaintance.

It’s very important, therefore, to ensure that children don’t interact with anyone online that they don’t know personally in real life. It’s also advisable to monitor your child’s activity online and check their messages.

Keeping kids safe online

There are many ways to keep your children safe online, but some simple steps include:

  • Removing phones from bedrooms at night. This not only promotes a healthy space from mobile phone use, but also prevents activity that is happening while you’re absent.
  • Check messages and internet use history daily. By doing so you can easily ensure that no inappropriate messages are being sent to your child and that nothing untoward is being viewed.
  • Cap time spent online. Perhaps mobile phones go off after a certain time each day, or there is a time limit of hours online.
  • Download a parental control app. These allow you to stop your children accessing certain apps, or even block calls or texts. Popular apps include Kidslox, Safe Lagoon and MM Guardian Parental Control.

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