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Preventing Indentity Theft – 7 Tips For College Students

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The typical college student’s head is filled with thoughts of friends, parties, grades, work and more parties, which leaves little room to consider things like identity fraud. Yet, according to, college students comprise the single largest demographic of all identity theft victims, at a shocking 34%. Moreover, studies show that college students typically take twice as long as the average victim to realize their identity has been stolen. That’s why it is incredibly important for students to attentively monitor their bank and credit card statements for unauthorized activity and to guard their personal data with the utmost caution. Here are some recommended preventative measures to help protect you from identity theft on campus:

Use Anti-Virus and Security Software

A good anti-virus and security system will protect you from viruses and spyware that could intercept your personal information from within your computer or over shared WiFi networks that are common in campus settings. Once you have installed this protective software, it is good practice to run regular security scan updates on your computer each day.

Monitor Your Account Statements

As tedious as it may sound, it is important to thoroughly comb over your monthly bank statements and look for suspicious activity. The sooner you catch a probable security breach, the less long-term damage you will feel. If you do see something out of the ordinary, contact your bank immediately. Mobile banking is a quick and convenient way to regularly track your account activity on-the-go.

Be Wary of Social Media

Social media may be a community based on sharing, but sharing too much can give identity thefts just the tidbit of information they need—an address, an email, your banks name, your mother’s maiden name—to access your personal information. You can never be too careful. If you think something you’re about to post could be valuable to an identity thief, don’t share it.

Enroll in ID Theft Protection

Every credit card holder should enroll in some type of Identity Theft Protection Service, which monitors your card activity for suspicious transactions or account activity. You can also sign up for alerts with your bank provider, so that you will receive instant notifications directly in your email inbox or on your smartphone.

Send Important Mail to a Permanent Address

Schools often send your important documents—like academic records or tuition payment information—through standard mail delivery services, but school mail boxes are not always. If a paperless, online option is not available (e.g. online bank statements), arrange for any mail containing sensitive material to be sent to a secure, trusted location, like your parent’s house or a post office box.

Securely Store Sensitive Documents

Keep all important documents—Social Security card, passport, medical files, bank statements—in a secure lock box. Instead of throwing away old credit card bills and other financial statements containing confidential data, shred any paper documents that you don’t want someone else getting a hold of.

Beware of Scams

Identity thieves are always thinking of creative ways to scam the unsuspecting college student and get their hands on your personal information. One popular scheme is called phishing, in which thieves pose as a bank or credit card company and ask for your confidential financial information, usually via email. Banks, in almost every case, will not ask for your personal information over email, Twitter, text message etc. If it is indeed your financial service provider, they should already have this information on record.

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2 Responses to “Preventing Indentity Theft – 7 Tips For College Students”

  1. Johny says:

    Hey Doug, the social media point is very accurate! Students have to beware of what they share and who they share it with. It’s important that they do a careful check of their privacy settings!

  2. Alex says:

    This article is awesome and right on point! The suggestions that have been listed here are very good ones and if students take the time to follow each one of them the chances of getting their identities stolen greatly diminishes. Trust me when I say that a little bit of work up front to protect our identity, is a far better option than trying to recover from full on identity theft. A lot of the time there is no making a full recovery anyways.