Identity theft most common cyber crime against kids

Identity theft is the fastest growing cyber crime against children, according to the Boone County Sheriff's office.

Detective Andy Anderson of the Boone County Sheriff's Department Cyber Crime Task Force met with Jefferson City families Wednesday night for an educational session concerning childrens' safety on the internet.

Topics included an overview of internet crimes, grooming, child pornography, social networking, cyber bullying, and sexting. Detective Anderson also had tips for parents to protect their families against fraud and other crimes directed towards their children.

Major Tom Reddin said there are a number of mistakes parents make when allowing their children to go online.

"Not monitoring how much time they are spending on the internet, not knowing who their friends are." Reddin said. "These are some common mistakes. Not knowing who they're accessing or who they may be chatting with on the internet, those kinds of things."

The Sheriff's office says solicitation of minors for sex remains a big problem in mid-Missouri. He says that as awareness of the problem grows, more parents than ever have been calling him to report that their child was solicited.

Reddin says families need to contact their department right away if this happens.

According to the Sheriff's office, there are some simple steps families can take to protect their children from online predation or identity theft:

- Limiting the amount of time children spend on the internet.

- Making sure the child is developmentally ready to use a smartphone. Most smartphones are not intended to be used by children.

- Keeping the family computer in a common area that can be monitored by parents.

- Not allowing children to have computers in their rooms.

- Using smart filters provided by internet service providers

For more information about online predators or identity theft, visit the Boone County Sheriff's Department Cyber Crimes Task Force website by clicking here.