Identity Theft and Students

Keeping students safe from identity theft

If you're a student, and struggling to make ends meet, the thought of identity theft may make you laugh. After all, you don't have any money or assets, so who would bother with stealing your identity?

This report may just change your mind.

Students and identity theft

The thing you have to remember about identity thieves is that they don't want just your money -- they want your identity. Once they have your personal information and identity, they can use it to get money and it ruins your reputation and future in the process.

Students tend to think that since they have no money, they aren't in any danger. Follow these tips to protect your identity...especially as students.

1. Reconcile your monthly checking account statements

Students usually don't reconcile their checking accounts so they don't know when money is disappearing. In other words, keep track of spending and make sure you match each item that appears on your monthly bank statement to your list of purchases.

2. Check credit card balances

Students don't check their credit card balances and don't notice when extra charges are being added until the thief has charged a great deal of things. If you think you "misplaced" a credit card, be sure to check with the credit card company to ensure no one is using it illegally.

3. Invest in a shredder for your dorm room

Half of all college students get credit card applications in the mail and don't shred the information. Identity thieves use this information to steal identities.

4. Request a unique college ID number

Half of all college students have grades posted online and are identified by their social security number which identity thieves use. If your college does this, request they stop using your personal number and issue a different unique identifier for you.

5. Personal computer usage

Students use personal computers for banking, and therefore, store personal information on their computers. Keep your personal information private. Always log off of bank and credit card sites and keep everything password protected.

Be careful about giving out any unnecessary information to people over the Internet or phone. By doing these things, you can help prevent becoming one of the next identity theft victims.

You can find more info in Scambusters excellent special report called The College Student's Guide to Identity Theft: What every college student should know about identity theft.

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