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The Resource Center Identity Theft & Protection The Resource Center | article

Many Students Don’t Understand Their Identity Theft Risks

Identity theft is increasingly common, but many students don't understand their risks.Every year, about 10 million Americans discover that their identity may have been compromised. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, this amounts to roughly 19 people per minute. That makes identity theft one of the fastest growing crimes in America.

It is important for people to consider all of the many ways in which thieves can compromise their identity and make of with confidential financial information. Whether it is a stolen credit card number, an exposed Social Security Number, or lost medical records, it doesn’t take much for a thief to be able to open financial accounts in a victims name. This can cost thousands of dollars and ruin that person’s credit if not addressed immediately.

Though almost everyone is at risk for identity theft, some people need to be more wary than others. For instance, recent reports suggest that college students and graduates have to seriously consider the ways in which identity thieves may attempt to compromise their personal information.

One little-known source of ID theft that most students may not be aware of is the use of false identification. While students who procure fake IDs are likely already engaging in illegal activity, such as underage drinking, they may also be exposing themselves to the theft of their real identities.

“Whenever anyone is communicating with criminals or submitting any type of personal information such as email, phone, address, photos, card data etc., they are putting their data at risk,” identity theft expert Robert Siciliano told The Daily Orange. “There is no honor among thieves.”

To prevent this, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced a new initiative that will combat the use of false IDs by educating bar owners about new security features built into the latest state-issued ID cards.

This is just one small point of risk, but even when students graduate they are still not immune to the dangers of identity theft. Many former students are coming to realize that their alumni accounts are putting them at risk.

Local CBS affiliate THV 11 reports that one such victim discovered that her identity had been stolen around the time when her alma mater had been calling her, seeking donations. Investigators later discovered that personal information in her student account had been compromised, allowing thieves to apply for a credit card in her name.

Identity thieves have countless avenues by which they can steal personal information from people. There are numerous steps that potential victims can take to protect themselves, such as shredding bank account statements and credit card applications, placing outgoing mail in postal collection boxes and securing important documents at home.

However, prevention measures can only do so much. At some point, you may experience identity theft, and you will need to have a plan in place to address it before a thief does significant damage to your credit. For the best protection, consider signing up for a credit monitoring services that can alert you to certain activity on your credit file that may be indicative of fraud. With this information, you can act immediately to protect yourself.