Fresno, Ca- Back to school is here and your BBB serving Central California wants to give college students tips on preventing identity theft. College students often have many responsibilities to manage when it comes to school, work, and their social lives, which means identity theft is the last thing on their minds. Your BBB wants you to know that young adults are more likely to be vulnerable to identity theft and such related crimes.
If you're wondering what identity theft is it's one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States, costing victims more than $5 billion annually. Identity theft occurs when a person uses your personal information such as your social security number and date of birth with the intent to commit fraud or to aid an unlawful activity. Once a thief has your personal information, he might open new credit card accounts in your name, apply for government benefits, open bank accounts in your name to write bad checks or take out a loan in your name.
Imagine graduating from college with thousands of dollars of unauthorized debt and a wrecked credit rating all because someone stole your identity. Of the almost 675,000 identity theft complaints received by the Federal Trade Commission in 2012, 31 percent were filed by young adults.
As a college student, they may be vulnerable to identity theft because of the availability of personal information and the way many students handle this data.
Your BBB recommends taking a few simple steps to protect your identity: