BBB says research and homework are key to avoiding a failing grade in ID protection
With more than one million post-secondary students attending Canadian universities in 2016*, students are already facing tests outside of the classroom when it comes to safeguarding their personal information. Between phony scholarships to employment scams and rental schemes, students are exposed to fraud on campus.
"Identity theft can affect cash-strapped students as much or more than their parents," says Mary O'Sullivan-Andersen, president and CEO of BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay. "Personal information that falls into the wrong hands can be used to commit illegal activities under an innocent student's name, or they could find their hard-earned money completely drained from their bank accounts."
Be a Savvy Student: Avoid on-campus identity theft with these BBB tips:
- Only apply to scholarships, bursaries and awards you know and trust. Ensure to seek the assistance of the student financial aid office at your college or university to ensure you are correctly applying for scholarships and other offers, and not dealing with money-hungry swindlers.
- For job offers, visit the company's website or LinkedIn page. Doing this can help you verify the business' legitimacy, find their location, what people have to say about the business and allow you to contact the company directly to ask further questions.
- Inspect rental ads closely and know your rights. Check the Residential Tenancies Act for information about tenant, landlord and rental agency rights before committing to a rental agreement. Pay attention to poorly written ads, low quality photos and requests for wire money transfers.
- Have mail sent to a secure location. School mailboxes are not always secure and often can be accessed easily in a dorm or apartment. To combat sticky fingers in the mailroom, have sensitive mail sent to a permanent address, such as a parent's home or a post office box.
- Never lend your credit or debit card to anyone, even if they are a friend.
- Update your devices. Make sure your computer, laptop or tablet has up-to-date antivirus and anti-spyware software.
- Always check your credit or debit card statements. The sooner you identify any potential fraud, the less you'll suffer in the long run. Getting your statements online is more secure, but make sure you actually look at the statements.
* Universities Canada, Facts and Stats
For more tips you can trust, visit bbb.org.
Leah Brownridge, Media and Corporate Communications Specialist
Better Business Bureau Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 167 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. There are local,independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay, which was founded in 1954 and garners more than one million instances of service annually.
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