Protecting College-Age Adults from Identity Theft - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Problem Solver: Protecting College-Age Adults from Identity Theft

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The Labor Day holiday is over and college campuses are busy with the 2013 fall semester. Even though school is in session, it is not too late to make sure students take precautions to protect their credit card information and mail. 

The Better Business Bureau of Northwest Florida is alerting college-age adults about the potential for identity theft.  According to the Consumer Sentinel Network database, 57,491 consumers between the ages of 20 and 29 fell victim to I-D theft in 2012.  That represents 21 percent of the total number of identity theft complaints reported last year.

The Better Business Bureau says thieves target college-age adults because they usually have clean credit scores.  The bureau offers these simple steps to protect their identity:

  • Secure your mail. Campus mailboxes are often easily accessed in a dorm or apartment.
  • Have sensitive mail sent to a permanent address such as your parents' home or invest in a secure post office box. This will also lessen the complications of multiple addresses.
  • Store safely. This includes your social security card, passport and bank and credit card statements. Shred all paper documents that contain sensitive financial information and any credit card offers that come in the mail. Pull your credit report at least once a year. Go to annualcreditreport.com, the only authorized source for free annual credit reports under federal law.
  • Safeguard your information. Don't share your information with anyone without knowing why it's needed. Most schools now use a student identification number instead of a social security number for added protection.
  • Check your statements frequently. Look for any suspicious activity or purchases on your debit or credit cards. 
  • Check your credit report at least once a year. You are entitled to a free credit report once a year. 
  • Consider identity theft protection services. If you are unable to routinely monitor your accounts and information, consider enrolling in identity theft protection services. These services help monitor your credit and public records for suspicious activity and will alert you if and when something is found. Some of these services also offer additional recovery and resolution help should you fall victim to identity theft.

 

 

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