LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas - Information sharing has become second-nature to many college students who have grown up in an era of social media, smartphones and widely available internet access. Unfortunately, this also makes students more susceptible as a target for scams and fraud.
Identity thieves look to college-age adults because they often have good, clean credit scores. Young adults are also prime targets, not just because of their willingness to share information online, but also the high number of forms and applications they are required to fill out. Adding to this is the continual barrage of credit card offers, frequent online purchases and newly granted financial independence.
According to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) 2013 Consumer Sentinel Network report, 20 percent of identity theft complaints were from 20-29 year olds. There were 39,335 young adults that fell victim to identity theft in 2013. That number is the largest out of any 10-year age range.
While identity theft can occur in college, sometimes the problem can start even earlier. Child identity theft happens when an individual commits fraud by using the child’s information to obtain credit cards or take out a loan. By the time that child is grown and attempts to open their own line of credit, often in college, the damage are already done. Parents should start monitoring their child’s credit report at a young age so problems don’t arise later.
Better Business Bureau (BBB) Serving Arkansas offers these simple steps college students can take to protect their identity:
If you are concerned about identity theft you can report and dispute errors or suspicious activity. Immediately notify your credit providers and notify each of the three credit bureaus. Also, you may want to fill out an online report to the FTC visit, www.ftc.gov/idtheft.