Newsroom: College Freshmen are Vulnerable to Identity Theft

Identity Guard® Provides 5 Top Tips for College Freshmen to Help Protect Themselves from Potential Identity Theft

CHANTILLY, VA - August 6, 2013 – Starting college can be a time filled with nervous excitement, as thousands of recent high school graduates, take their first steps toward adulthood. With this new stage in life comes a whole new area of responsibility and protecting personal information from criminals should be a top priority. To help young adults get started on the path to protecting their personal and financial information, Identity Guard, a leading identity theft protection company, provides a list of tips to help protect them from becoming a victim.

"Being in the industry and having college age children, I am particularly passionate about educating this generation on the topic of identity theft," said Steve Schwartz, President of Identity Guard. "As they leave home and venture out on their own, students need to become familiar with the risks, know how to protect themselves, and identify a trusted resource to turn to should they become a victim."

In an age when cloud computing and social networking have become the normal way of life, young adults can be particularly vulnerable to identity theft and are easy targets for cybercriminals. With clean credit files, increased Internet usage, and a more casual attitude, young adults - if not careful - can make it easy for criminals to gain access to their personal information who may ultimately use it to commit fraud, leaving a trail of financial ruin for the true owner of the identity to have to recover and rebuild.

While this demographic may be just one subset of the various age groups being targeted by identity thieves, the emotional and financial toll of identity theft can have profound consequences on the younger generation, leaving them with financial hardships that can ultimately lead to creditors turning them down for leases, mortgages, personal loans and even lost job opportunities after college.

"This is an exciting time in their lives and they should enjoy every minute of it; but cautiously," said Schwartz. "By taking some extra precautionary steps, college bound students put themselves on the right path to a positive financial future."

As part of our ongoing commitment to educating consumers about identity theft and protection, Identity Guard, presents a list of helpful tips for young adults:

  • Attend an identity theft seminar. Most colleges take the threat of identity theft very seriously and have started to offer free seminars on identity theft protection during college orientation. Check with the admissions office to see what types of information are available for students. If your college doesn't provide any formal education on identity theft prevention, send a letter or ask the admissions office to consider including this as part of their student resource center.
  • Limit online sharing of personal information. Facebook, Twitter, and even LinkedIn are great communication tools to help us stay in touch with friends and family while away from home. But they are havens for cybercriminals searching for ways to gain access to personal information. Never share your full birthdate, name, or place of birth. This is also a great time to check your privacy controls and settings for social networks to ensure they are not defaulting to public and access to your profile is limited to friends and family.
  • Secure your personal items. Smartphones, tablets, and laptops have become commonplace and most everyone carries at least one of these devices. When leaving your dorm room or off-campus housing, be sure to securely lock up all of your personal items - including your electronics - so they cannot be easily accessed.
  • Use wireless connections with caution. Coffee shops and libraries are great places to sit down with friends and study as most will offer customers free Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, the downside is most public Wi-Fi hotspots are unsecured; allowing sensitive information - such as credit card numbers - to be intercepted during transmission. Instead, use your carrier's cellular service when needing to gain access to the Internet. This includes your college's wireless network. Use the hard wire connection when making purchases or financial transactions.
  • Don't be shy, ask why. Most college campuses now provide students with their own unique identification numbers to use in lieu of their Social Security number; however, there will be times when you will be asked to provide your SSN - like when having to visit the doctor. Before you hand it over, ask why they need it and how it will be protected.

For more tips and advice, please visit http://www.identityguard.com/identity-theft-resources/.

About Identity Guard
Identity Guard is a proactive identity and credit protection service that delivers premium solutions to help busy families and individuals take control over their personal and private information. Our services help educate and empower individuals to protect themselves from the growing threat of identity theft with premier identity protection and credit monitoring solutions. Identity Guard is provided by Intersections Inc. (NASDAQ: INTX), who, since 1996, has protected more than 35 million consumers.

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