College Students & Identity Theft
As if you didn't have enough to worry about when you go to college, you can add identity theft to the list of potential concerns. College students are among those who are highly targeted for identity fraud.
You do not have to be victim. Learn about how identity theft relates to you as a college student and how you can avoid it.
Why College Students Are Targets
Ignoring Credit History
Part of being a responsible adult is staying on top of your credit report and history. As a college student, however, your credit history might not be a priority.
One of the main reasons identity thieves target college students is because so many of them ignore their credit reports. The longer fraud can exist without being detected the more useful—and lucrative—it is for the criminal.
Careless with Personal Information
Being relatively young and inexperienced, many college students may not be aware of how important it is to keep personal information safe and secure.
Compared to other adults, college-aged students are more likely to be careless about their personal information. Many students might not be as concerned with keeping private documents filed in a safe place. Unattended dorm rooms can provide all the personal information a thief needs to commit identity fraud.
Avoiding Identity Theft
It might sound simple, but the biggest way you can avoid identity theft is by keeping your personal information safe. Always remember to:
- Keep any document containing personal information filed in a secure place.
- If you do not need the document, shred it before throwing it away.
- Know with whom you share your personal information.
- Make sure any company or organization that requires personal information is trusted.
- Use strong passwords and change them regularly.
Additionally, check with the major credit report bureaus to see if you have a credit report. As time goes by, keep up with your credit report on a regular basis. If you find abnormalities in your credit report (such as accounts you never opened), this is a sign that you have been victimized by identity theft.
Recovering From Identity Theft
If you suspect that your identity has been stolen, you can report the ID theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at their identity theft reporting website. This tool will walk you through the steps to report the problem as well as tell you how to begin fixing it. The process will also include filing a report with your local police department as well as with the FTC.
Resolving identity theft is not a fun process. College students may feel immune to this kind of crime, but once you see the problems ID theft causes, you will be happy you took the time to learn how to avoid it.