Identity Theft: A Hard Life Lesson For College Students

What College Students Need to Know About Identity Theft

College students are especially prone to becoming victims of identity theft for a variety of reasons. According to the Federal Trade Commission, 31% of identity theft victims are between the ages of 18-29. Because of this, it is important that college students take proactive stance in protecting the integrity of their financial identities to help ward off future problems.

Why Are College Students Vulnerable?

Receiving the first unsolicited pre-approved credit card application is a veritable rite of passage. In true teenage fashion, however, most college students throw out these offers with the rest of their junk mail without taking the time to destroy it. This enables potential identity thieves to obtain intact applications with which they can open credit accounts in your name.

College students are likewise prone to being somewhat lackadaisical with regards to how they share personal information over the Internet. Having been raised in a generation where the Internet and associated technology is a virtual necessity, they regard it as infallible and therefore treat it with indifference. This makes them more likely to disclose sensitive information via means that are not secure, enabling hackers to obtain it quite readily.

College students are also inherently less aware of how to avoid online scams. Common techniques, such as phishing, trip up unsuspecting college students.

Similarly, they do not tend to review their bank statements and credit reports as closely as their parents, and are therefore more likely to miss some of the more overt signs of identity theft.

Finally, until recently, the majority of colleges used social security numbers as a student identification number; some still do. This means that records are filed and grades are posted according to social security number, making this highly sensitive piece of personal information accessible to a large number of people.

Parents Can Help

Although conversations about identity theft probably do not rank high among the things to be discussed before sending your child off to college, it is an important topic to bring up. The more aware your child is about the dangers lurking in the shadows that seek to prey on their financial identity, the more they will be able to take the steps to avoid them.

This identity theft article offers more information on avoiding identity theft in college.

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