Preventing college students from being a victim of identity theft – Safety tips

As per reports from the Identity Theft Resource Center, college students are made the easiest targets for thieves. Statistics reveal nearly a quarter of all identity theft complaints coming from people who are between 18 and 20 years of age. This is the world of technology with more cons than pros, where credit card skimmers, email scams and telephone scams present brand new ways for people to fall prey to thieves. Scammers have found enough opportunities to rob students of their identities. While some find out a quick way of committing identity theft by snatching off your credit card or by finding out your personal information from your mobile phone.

Experts are of the opinion that college students form easier targets for the thieves as they are the ones who don’t keep right track of their credit history. In fact most of them aren’t even aware of what credit reporting agencies are or that they get an annual free credit report. Parents often warn student about identity thefts and the consequences they may face but students mostly ignore. Here are some preventive steps that students should take to steer clear of identity theft.

? Safeguard your SS number: You should always stay safe by memorizing your Social Security number and passwords instead of writing them down somewhere or even worse, carrying them in your wallet, phone, purse or elsewhere. The US Department of Education even warns you about using your date of birth as your password. These numbers are very easy to crack.

? Use a paper shredder: Those pre-approved credit applications should be ripped off by using a paper shredder. All those financial documents which you have in relation to your bank. Don’t ever make the mistake of tossing your personal information in the trash or leave it elsewhere for some identity thief to find it and misuse it. Always destroy any such papers with the help of a paper shredder.

? Don’t trust your dorm: The Consumer Reports always recommend you not to trust your dorm room as it is a room away from home and hence you shouldn’t expect safety like you do at home. Dorm rooms are infamous for opening up to too many people, some of whom don’t bother about taking away your papers for personal information like credit card numbers, bank account numbers or Social Security numbers.

? Learn how to get your report: Most of the students don’t know how to get their free annual credit report from several credit reporting agencies and sheer financial ignorance is the main driving factor behind the increasing identity theft cases. As per the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you are allowed to get one free look at your report every year. You may even visit www.annualcreditreport.com for getting a credit report.

? Use a strong firewall program: Make sure you use a strong firewall program on your computer so that you can avoid email viruses, scams, Trojan Horses or any other types of threats by deleting those questionable mails and avoiding all those links and websites which can have a dangerous impact on your computer.

? Don’t be prey to phone scams: If someone calls you and asks for your Social Security number, birth date, full name and your account number, verify the source from which they’re calling. Experts usually suggest that you should never offer information over the internet or over the phone unless you have been informed beforehand by the contact.

? Report in case of stolen card: If a thief steals your card or if you misplace your card, make sure it report it immediately. Contact your bank and ask them to monitor your transactions and stop the thieves from making any unauthorized purchases.

So, in the world of technological advancements, people are misusing technology to the utmost level rather than using it for their good. Be aware of your credit cards and follow the above mentioned tips in case of an accident.

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