As most college students start back at classes and settle into the routine of school, work and friends, it is unlikely that many will stop to consider the dangers of identity theft. Unfortunately, identity thieves will take advantage of this and the fact that students of this age group generally take longer to detect identity theft than other demographics. Fraudsters also find the clean credit records of many young adults to be appealing targets.
In some instances, students may not discover their identity has been stolen until they go to apply for their first job after graduation, purchase a car or even an apartment. Taking proactive measures to recognize the red flags of identity theft can help prevent issues in the long run.
Follow BBB’s tips to help protect your identity at college:
- Continue to receive all sensitive mail to your permanent home address. Dorm mailboxes may not be as secure as you think.
- Install the latest malware protection and antivirus software on your computer.
- Always monitor debit and credit card statements closely. Maintain a balanced check book! You should also monitor your credit report for free at least once a year at www.annualcreditreport.com.
- Shred any sensitive documents or credit card and loan offers that may be sent in the mail. Don’t just dispose of them by throwing them in the trash.
- Be cautious if you are asked to co-sign a loan for a friend or finance items for someone else, even if it is a roommate or trusted friend.