When some of us head off to live in the dorms, we end up developing a relationship with our roommates that blossoms into a lifelong friendship. For a few college freshman, however, the overarching experience that they retain as a memory of living on campus is becoming the victim of identity theft.
ID theft runs rampant at colleges and universities because personal space tends to be a limited luxury in most dorms and, as a result, individuals tend to have easy access to a lot of their peers personal identification information. They may then use it to open up accounts in the name of fellow students or run up debts that will destroy their once pristine credit scores.
- Keep your doors locked whenever you leave your dorm room, and avoid leaving your laptop or other information unattended.
- Refuse giving out sensitive personal information like your Social Security number or home address at all costs – it’s rarely a necessary requirement.
- Invest in your shredder – it’s extremely easy for a criminal to commit ID theft if they get a hold of your bank statement or credit card bill.
- Make your computer an arsenal by installing malware and virus protection software, using creative and unique passwords and verifying the security of shared wireless networks.
- When you sign documents like checks with Uni-Ball gel pens, the ink used is harder to check-wash or copy, so your signature is more secure.
- Scammers will target naive college students, so never respond to emails or text messages that claim to be from your bank and look into any warnings manually via your banks website or a branch.
Follow these tips and you will help lower your risk of identity theft and your folks can be proud that you are being responsible while in college.