College-age Adults are Largest Group of ID Theft Victims

  
     
August 27, 2013

DENVER – According to the Consumer Sentinel Network database, 57,491 consumers between the ages of 20 and 29 were victims of identity theft in 2012. That number accounts for 21 percent of the total number of identity theft complaints reported last year – the largest out of any 10-year age range.

As the fall semester begins, the BBB warns college-age adults of their vulnerability to identity theft. Criminals who commit identity theft target college-age adults because they often have good, clean credit scores of which to take advantage.

Identity thieves also know that as college students multitask to keep up with school, work, family and social lives, fraud can easily go undetected. It’s vital that students are aware of identity theft, scams and other rip-offs they might encounter when living on their own for the first time.

The BBB offers six simple tips for college students to protect their identity:

  • Use the Internet safely. When shopping or doing business online, always check the company out first with the BBB by visiting denver.bbb.org. Do not give personal or financial information through an unverified website. Also, if searching for housing, beware of rental scams on sites like Craigslist.
  • 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 documents safely. This includes your social security card, passport and financial statements. Shred all paper documents that contain sensitive financial information and any credit card offers that come in the mail.
  • 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. The sooner you identify potential fraud, the sooner any fraudulent charges can be refunded.
  • Check your credit report at least once a year. You are entitled to a free credit report once a year. Request a report and look for any suspicious activity or inaccuracies. Go to annualcreditreport.com, the only authorized source for free annual credit reports under federal law.

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About the BBB

The BBB is an unbiased nonprofit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. The BBB provides objective advice, BBB Business Reviews, BBB Charity Reports and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, your BBB also offers dispute resolution services for consumers and businesses. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, there are 113 local, independent BBBs across the U. S. and Canada. Please visit denver.bbb.org for more information.