7 Ways College Students Can Protect Themselves From ID Theft And Fraud


College students are among those who are the most vulnerable to identity theft. Teens should be aware of this issue so that they will know what signs to look for if their identities and other personal information are being stolen.

Brainerd Dispatch reported that the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has offered simple steps that college students can follow to protect themselves from identity theft on campus. It was noted that college students are the least likely to detect identify fraud.

"Identity theft can affect penniless students as much or more than their parents," Michelle L. Corey, St. Louis BBB President and CEO, said in the organization's official website. "Sometimes all thieves want is to exploit your clean credit record. By establishing good habits for monitoring and detecting fraud, students can establish healthy financial habits for the rest of their lives.".

1. Make sure that sensitive mail is sent to your permanent address, not in school mailboxes where a lot of people can get a hold of it. College students can opt for this type of mail to be sent to their parent's home or a post office box.

2. Secure important documents and store them under lock and key. Your Social Security card, passport, bank and credit card statements are examples of this. Basically, make sure that any document that has your personal information is kept safe. Shred anything that needs to be discarded, instead of just throwing them away.

3. Don't allow anyone to borrow your credit or debit card. Yes, even if they're family or your closest friends. Also, it's best to refuse to be your friend's co-signer for a loan.

4. Check if your computer, laptop or mobile devices have up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware software. Install updates and patches to keep your devices secure from any new schemes or hacks by identity thieves online.

5. Review your credit or debit card statements to check for any suspicious activity. It's actually more secure to get your statements online but, again, make sure that you read through them to identify any potential fraud.

6. If possible, avoid shopping on unfamiliar websites. Check BBB's list of Accredited Businesses. There are seals that you can click on to confirm that the business is legitimate.

7. Check your credit report at least once a year. This is to spot suspicious activities or inaccuracies.

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