August 18, 2011 – London, ON - As university and college students prepare to head back to campus in the next few weeks, fighting fraud may not be at the top of their list of priorities. However, students are susceptible to identity theft and the BBB recommends that they take steps to protect themselves on campus.
Last year thousands of adults became victims of ID theft. Young adults aged 18-24 are among the last to detect identity theft when compared to other age groups. It took them 132 days on average to spot it, and their average loss was roughly five times more than the amount lost by other age groups.
The BBB recommends that college and university bound students take the following seven steps to fight identity theft on campus:
· Send sensitive mail to your parent’s home or a post office box. School mailboxes are not always secure and often can be accessed easily in a dorm or apartment.
· Important documents should be stored under lock and key. This includes your Social Insurance Card, passport and bank and credit statements. Shred credit card offers and any paper documents that have sensitive financial information, rather than just tossing them out.
· Never lend your credit or debit card to anyone. Just say no if your friend wants to borrow your card or asks you to co-sign for a loan or financing for items like a TV.
· Make sure your computer has up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware software. Always install any updates and patches to your computer’s operating system or browser software, which help keep your computer safe from any advances by identity thieves online.
· Always check your credit or debit card statements closely for any suspicious activity. The sooner you identify, and report, any potential fraud, the less you’ll suffer in the long run.
· Check out unfamiliar websites with the BBB. Look for the BBB Accredited Business Seal along with other trust seals; click on the seal to confirm it is legitimate.
· Check your credit report at least once a year. You are entitled to one free report a year from each of the reporting bureaus; TransUnion and Equifax. Look for any suspicious activity or inaccuracies. False credit reports could affect your ability to receive a student loan.
more advice on fighting fraud and managing personal finances, visit www.westernontario.bbb.org or call
519-673-3222 or 877-283-9222