How to protect your children (and yourself) from identity theft.
By Tim Woda
With the most recent security hacks of Target, Snapchat and Skype, and the all-knowing NSA looming over our head, it is safe to say that now more than ever we are aware of how our identity is not really our own. Most adults know to protect their identity online. However, what parents often overlook is that their child’s identity is just as susceptible, if not more.
Kids have perfect credit. Smart criminals know this. The first time someone applies for credit, all that is required is a Social Security combination and an unused name—with any contact information—and credit is received. Since the fraudulent account is attached to your child’s SSN but not his address, it is possible that you won’t know about the theft until years later when he or she applies for his or her own credit.
1 Protect the Social Security Number. Multiple organizations have your child’s SSN—doctors, dentists, college savings accounts, the IRS. Anytime your child’s SSN is requested, ask if there is an alternative figure you can use instead or simply leave it blank.
2 Teach what is appropriate to share on social media sites. Make it very clear what should not be shared online and on the phone, including identifying data such as phone numbers, addresses, passwords, driver’s license number, credit card numbers and more. Consider friending your child on Facebook, Twitter or using a parental intelligence tool to help guide them on a path to better online safety, security and etiquette.
3Make sure privacy settings are activated. Make sure your child’s various accounts are set up so only their friends can see information they post. Warn your children about “friending” on Facebook. Only real friends should be social media friends. Children should also be cautious about downloading anything from the Internet and avoid clicking links in a fishy-sounding email or respond to an email asking for personal information.
4Request a credit report annually, for both you and your children. There are various free services you can use to do this. If you chose to use annualcreditreport.com, request a copy of your report and your child’s from one of the major credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Requesting your report from just one bureau every four months will give you a great snapshot of you and your child’s credit. When you open the report, a single page should read, “No Credit Report Exists.” If it states anything else, contact the police.
Tim Woda is an Internet safety expert and a advocate for empowering families and protecting children from today’s scariest digital dangers. Woda started working on child safety issues after his son was targeted by a child predator online. While his son was unharmed, the incident led Woda to kick-start uKnow.com. Find more of his Internet safety tips at northernvirginiamag.com/family each month.
By Lynn Norusis
One cannot read a newspaper, turn on the news or check a Twitter feed without the topic of the bullying epidemic surfacing. We all know it is happening. We opine about ways to bring it to a halt. We watch documentaries about it. But that is where we stop. For 13-year-old Viraj Puri, he saw the affects of bullying in his own home, and he vowed to do something about it.
Puri has a brother, a little more than two years older, who he used to be extremely close with. One day it stopped. “He would lock himself in his room and he’d feel alone,” says Puri. “I really wanted to do something to help him.”
A then-11-year old Puri started Bullyvention. It took 9 months to get the site up and running, later adding in interviews with lawmakers, superintendents and businessmen. He has worked with big data scientists from Georgetown University and the University of Wisconsin integrating heat maps that track bullying accounts on social media.
“The heat map (in beta form) shows where bullying occurs the most [through social media outlets such as Twitter],” he explains. Puri hopes that as the heat maps grow (currently the maps use only 1 percent of Twitter data) and incorporate a larger share of social media it will put pressure on people to look at bullying in their own communities.
“When people buy a home they look at the best schools, best communities, I also want to encourage them to look at the amount of bullying. This will put pressure on the local authority to get rid of bullying in that specific area.”
With the growing support of Bullyvention—Puri has received remarks in Congress, and a letter from President Obama—Puri is hoping the CEOs of Twitter, Facebook and Google+ will join in his efforts, allowing access to their data so the heat maps can become more accurate. “I want to make sure bullying is not happening anywhere, to make teens feel safe. I want them to not feel like they are alone.”
Puri’s brother has moved into a new school and the bullying has stopped. He and his brother are back to being almost inseparable.
Posted by Tim Regan / Thursday, December 5th, 2013
If you were on Capitol Hill last night, you might have seen a truck-mounted neon sign, swarmed by police. That’s because Alicia Eggert chose this week to drive a blinking neon sign across NoVA and The District. No, it’s not an advertisement or viral marketing. Yes, it’s art. We spoke with Eggert to figure out where she’s driving the sculpture around, why she got pulled over and to describe a time she almost died at the hands of a diseased groundhog:
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Posted by Editorial / Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013
What better way to combat cultural stigmatization than with a stand-up comedy tour?
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Social media has taken over. Make sure these Novinites are on your radar. —Alexis Evans & Anne Elsea
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Posted by Tim Regan / Tuesday, September 17th, 2013
Erik Griffin: comedian. Actor. Twitter personality. Intergalactic bounty hunter…? We spoke to Griffin about his upcoming performance at Jammin’ Java, “Workaholics,” and what’s next for the L.A. jester.
Tell me about your career. How’d you get your start in comedy?
It was about 2003. I had a completely different life. I was working a regular job. I didn’t want to wake up at 50 and be like, “I didn’t follow my dreams.” So I started going to the open mic scene every single day and started building up my reputation.
Who are your comedic influences?
When I was a kid I liked Eddie Murphy a lot. That was probably one of the first times where I was like, “I want to do that too.”
How did you get started on Workaholics?
I knew Adam DeVine, but I didn’t even know at the time that he was in the midst of producing a television show. The funny thing is, like a week before I auditioned, I saw him at a comedy club…and then I get to this random audition, and I see him in the room, and I think he’s an intern or something, like he’s trying to learn the business. I didn’t know at that point that he was the producer of the show. I auditioned a few times, and I got the part.
Tell me about your character, Montez Walker. Have you brought anything to the role wasn’t in the script?
I play it very honestly. Very earnestly. I believe in the things this person would do and I do them. I think that’s why I booked the part initially, even with the audition, because the audition was one of the scenes from the first episode in the end…it was me talking about having sex with my wife for five minutes. And that was the audition. And I just kind of went with that. It’s not hard to play something so open and so free with yourself.
As if we had to tell you, this “Workaholics” clip contains NSFW language:
Does Montez live inside of you anywhere? Is he part of your personality?
I mean, I would assume so. He’s such a crazy character, I don’t even know if I want to admit that, you know what I mean? But he’s probably the part of me that I always wanted to be. Just so open and free. There’s probably a little bit of an unchained, unchecked version of myself.
Your Montez character is pretty different from your standup.
They’re tremendously different. I’m not Montez. As much as people want me to be, I’m not. When you listen to my standup, it’s a totally different point of view and perspective.
Once again, NSFW language in case your boss is easily offended.
You had a cameo with in the first episode of the newest season of Arrested Development. Tell me about that experience.
The producer was on Workaholics. He was a big fan of the show. He had a relationship with the boys at that point. He wanted them to have a cameo on the show, and he thought it would be hilarious if I also was there. So he made that little part for me. If you’re a “Workaholics” fan, that’s a great moment for you…it’s such an inside joke. You’re just like, “OHH! It’s Montez!” That’s a nerd moment. It’s like when you make a Boba Fett reference for “Star Wars” nerds. Star Wars nerds love Boba Fett. That’s how it is for “Workaholics.” I’m like the Boba Fett of television.
What can audiences expect from your performance at Jammin’ Java?
I’m always working on stuff. I have a lot of material. I like to go with the flow, too. There are some things that I want to try and talk about. I’m not trying to change the world. I occasionally get deep. I occasionally get political. But most of the time, it’s just my silly point of view about everything. Even politics, religion or whatever. It’s just my point of view. You’re either going to agree or disagree, but you’ll laugh in the process.
Workaholics will have another season. You’ve got your standup. We should be seeing more of you in the future. What’s next for you?
I’m filming [Workaholics season 5] right now. In the meantime, I’m just going to do standup. I’m doing a lot of colleges, a lot of clubs. I’m very accessible. I tweet at people. I’m auditioning for stuff. Movies. Commercials. All kinds of stuff. Hopefully somebody will give me a chance like the “Workaholics” did and then you’ll see me in something even bigger.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
It’s official: D.C. will bid for the 2024 Summer Games. Good? Bad? Let’s go to Twitter for the consensus:
Oh please god no RT @CNBCSportsBiz: Washington, D.C. to bid for 2024 Summer Olympics.
— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) August 27, 2013
So DC is really going to bid for 2024 olympics?! YES PLEASE
— Nezz Baltazar (@crazyNezz) August 27, 2013
Economists think it’s a terrible idea for D.C. to host the 2024 Olympics http://t.co/w7dxZkvlqv
— Post Local (@postlocal) August 27, 2013
My opinion on the wisdom of a DC 2024 Olympic bid depends on the content of the bid. #badpundit
— Matt Yglesias (@mattyglesias) August 27, 2013
— Washington Capitals (@washcaps) August 27, 2013
DC can’t even run metro properly, why are we putting a bid up for the Olympics?!
— Alejandra Owens (@frijolita) August 27, 2013
Got an idea? A thought? A witticism? Tweet me. I love it.
Hey NoVA: Tweet me!
— Tim Regan (@MrTimRegan) August 27, 2013