Protect Your Kids From Scams and Rip-Offs

How to Give Your Kids Their Best Financial Future

The other day I received three hoax phone calls in the space of about 15 minutes. When the second caller announced that he was calling from Telstra and that there was a problem with my phone, I just could not stop myself from bursting out laughing at his very pathetic attempt to scam me and at that, he hung-up. The day before that I received quite a few text messages with tracking links for parcels that I’d never ordered, so I knew they were NOT real too. If I had clicked on any of the links I probably would have given some scumbag access to all the personal information stored on my phone.

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No doubt you’ve had many attempts to scam you as well. Bad guys are everywhere these days. They could be hiding in any corner of the planet and they are making big money by scamming or hoaxing people into believing something that is not true and parting with their hard earned money as a result.

I know a couple who were ripped off by scammers who constructed a very clever fake share deal that appeared to have generated big profits, and using a clever twist it then managed to extract over $120,000 from the unsuspecting couple’s superannuation fund.

As parents you are going to have to make sure your kids are aware of the fact that we live in a broken world where criminals have no hesitation to rip off even the most vulnerable people. Every time you become aware of a new strategy that criminals are using to rip people off, you should make a point of letting your kids know about it so they get to know what to look out for. If you don’t, they will very likely fall victim to some kind of scam or hoax that causes them a lot of financial pain.

Of course you need to consider your kid’s age in everything you do when educating them about money.  Small children will not be aware of even the most basic security risks because they trust everyone, and they don’t understand how something as simple as letting people see that they are carrying money in a public place could be asking for trouble.

Older kids will have learnt about the risk of theft, but they’ll still be easy targets to someone trying to rip them off by offering some kind of fake value. As they get older still, the attempts to take advantage of their lack of experience will become more sophisticated.

You are probably not going to talk to a 5 year old about a texting scam, but you would make a point of telling them not to let people see that they are carrying money when they’re at the toy store and especially not to leave their money in view on a shopping trolley while they are focussing on something that has caught their attention.

How you go about teaching them is up to your own creativity, but one surefire way of educating them without making it seem like a lecture is to deliberately have a discussion with your spouse about something bad that happened to someone else, making sure your kids can overhear the conversation. Maybe when you're travelling in the car as a family, or while you’re all at the evening dinner table. OK, now you might be thinking, “evening dinner table!” what’s that? If this is not something that happens at your place, it might be something you should consider trying. It’s where the entire family sits down together over the evening meal. You make it sacred family time. No TV, no computer games, no phone calls or text messages, just quality time together over a family meal. I know there are lots of reasons why this might seem just too hard to make happen, but it is definitely worth the effort. It’s a proven family bonding time where all sorts of things can be discussed and everyone can share about what happened during their day.

Regardless of how you go about it, it’s important that you prepare your kids for a world where someone will attempt to take them down if they get the chance. Kids-n-Money is an initiative of the Spending Planners Institute. To find out more go to

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