In 2012, 57,491 consumers between the ages of 20 and 29 fell victim to identity theft
, according to the Consumer Sentinel Network
database. The age group, just entering their own in terms of finances, is an attractive identity theft target due to clean credit histories.
“Starting out adulthood with a case of identity theft is not an ideal situation,” said Gary Almond, president of BBB Serving Northeast California. “We encourage college students to take a moment to evaluate how safe their identity is and take steps to secure it further.”
To protect against ID theft, BBB recommends the following tips to college students:
• Consider rerouting your mail. Campus and apartment mailboxes are not always secure. Protect yourself from identity theft by having sensitive mail sent to your parents’ house or consider renting a post office box.
• Disclose your social security number sparingly. Before providing your social security number to everyone who requests it, find out why they need it, how it will be used and whether you can use some other piece of identification as a substitute for your social security number.
• Safeguard personal belongings. Consider purchasing a lockbox to store your social security card, birth certificate and other belongings. Shred all sensitive documents you receive and do not need to keep.
Check your credit report annually at annualcreditreport.com
. Review reports from all three credit bureaus for inaccuracies.
• Review your bills and statements. Be on the lookout for suspicious activity and report fraud immediately.
If you believe you have been victimized by identity theft, contact the Federal Trade Commission
at ftc.gov or via telephone at 1-877-438-4338.
As a business-supported nonprofit organization, Better Business Bureau's mission is to promote an ethical marketplace. BBB sets standards for ethical business behavior, helps consumer identify reliable businesses through BBB Business Reviews, sets standards for truthful advertising, evaluates and provides reviews of charities, educates consumers, and offers dispute resolution services. More than 87 million consumers rely on BBB for Business Reviews, consumer tips and scam alerts. To learn more, please visit www.necal.bbb.org.