9 Tips to Help College Students Avoid Identity Theft
College kids are prime targets for identity theft. They are going away from home to learn more and may suddenly think they know everything.
The truth is they don’t.
Students need to know how to protect their private information and prevent it from being available to others.
College students are continuing their college life all over again in an attempt to move forward after the health pandemic.
Unfortunately, freshmen this time around might not be at topmost priority. This is exactly what makes them an easy target for identity thieves.
College students already have a lot on their plates as it is – the course load often feels too heavy; suddenly having new responsibilities can feel daunting when you’re away from home sweet home for so long.
These main objectives make college students especially vulnerable to identity theft. They often don’t have a lot of experience managing their own finances, and they may be living away from home for the first time.
As a result, they may not be as vigilant about protecting their private information.
Identity theft happens when someone uses your personal information, such as your Social Security Number or other identifying details without permission.
College students tend to be an easy target for this type of fraud because they’re living away from home for the first time and often don’t know how best to protect their own finances–which makes them quite vulnerable.
And that’s exactly what makes college students a target for identity thieves.
Identity theft is a problem that affects college students more than anyone else. They’re easy pickings for identity thieves because they often don’t have much experience managing their own finances or living away from home, and incoming freshmen may be feeling overwhelmed by all of the changes in campus life at once!
Identity theft is a serious problem that can have lasting consequences for college students.
But there are things you can do in order to stay safe.
The good news is that there are some simple steps that students can take to help protect themselves from this type of fraud.
As simple steps come into play here – like keeping track of where you store personal info (especially online)- it will become easier to avoid becoming a victim forever.
According to the Better Business Bureau, these are steps that college students can take to fight identity theft on their campus.
By following these simple tips, college students can help protect themselves from identity theft. Let’s look at them further.
1. Send Sensitive Mail to Your Permanent Home or Post Office Box
School mailboxes are not always secure and often can be accessed easily in a dorm or apartment. One of the best ways to avoid identity theft is to be careful with your mail and documents. Never throw away mail without shredding it first, and be sure to keep important documents in a secure location.
2. Important Documents Should be Stored Away Safely
This includes your Social Security card, passport, and bank and credit card statements. Get in the habit of shredding any paper documents that have sensitive financial information rather than just tossing them out, and use PrivacyMate to opt-out of receiving pre-approved credit and insurance offers that contain your personal information.
3. Never Lend Your Credit or Debit Card to Anyone
Just say no if your friend wants to borrow your card or asks you to co-sign for a loan or financing for items like a TV. It doesn’t matter how well you know the person. And when using an ATM, don’t let anyone ‘shoulder surf’ your PIN.
4. Guard Your Passwords
Don’t give them out to anyone. Use strong passwords and don’t use the same password for all sites. This goes double for any passwords for accounts that contain financial or student loan information. Protect yourself by being cautious about what you share online. Be sure to use strong passwords and never respond to phishing emails or other suspicious requests for personal information.
5. Watch for Phishing
There are always phishing scams floating around that will specifically target college students. Whether the email is flaunting a great discount or asking you to verify your school login credentials, be vigilant. Be careful of clicking on links in emails and texts; verify the content with the website.
6. Make Sure Your Computer Has Up-to-Date Antivirus and Spyware Software
Always install any updates and patches to your computer’s operating system or browser software, which help keep your computer safe from any new advances by identity thieves online.
7. Always Check Your Credit or Debit Card Statements
Spend some time inspecting them closely for any suspicious activity. The sooner you identify potential fraud, the less you’ll suffer in the long run. You can also sign up for 3-bureau credit monitoring, which will do this for you automatically. Always keep an eye on your credit cards and bank statements. Be sure to report any suspicious activity right away.
8. Be Careful When Shopping Online
Make sure websites and apps are safe. They must use the security padlock in the address bar to show they are secure. Check out businesses on BBB.org. Look for the BBB Accredited Business seal; click on the seals to confirm that they are legitimate. You can also check to see if there are any complaints on the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov. This measure also applies to dating apps.
9. Check Your Credit Report at Least Once a Year
You are entitled to one free report a year from each of the three reporting bureaus: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Look for any suspicious activity or inaccuracies. You can do this for free by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com, or signing up for 3-bureau credit monitoring with Identity Guard.
College students are especially vulnerable to identity theft. They often don’t have a lot of experience managing their own finances, and they may be living away from home for the first time. As a result, they may not be as vigilant about protecting their personal information. Identity theft is a serious problem that can have lasting consequences for college students. The best way to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft is to be proactive about it.
Here are some tips:
– Don’t carry your Social Security card or birth certificate with you.
– Be careful about sharing personal information online or through social media.
– Shred documents that contain personal information before throwing them away.
– Never give your credit card number to someone over the phone unless you are the one who initiated the call.
– Keep an eye on your credit report and credit score.
– Be careful about responding to email phishing scams.
By following these simple tips, college students can help protect themselves from identity theft.