Avoiding identity theft while at school

This week marks the return of college students to campus. It can sometimes be overwhelming when trying to juggle school, work and social life. Unfortunately, protecting their identities and fighting fraud doesn’t make their list of priorities. College students can be easy targets of identity thieves because of the amount of personal information that can be found online, especially through social media. Sometimes all they want to do is exploit their clean credit record.

The BBB recommends college bound students take these steps to fight identity theft on campus:

-School mailboxes are not always secure. Have sensitive mail sent to a parent’s home or a P.O. box.
-Important documents should be stored under lock and key. This includes Social Security card, passport and any bank or credit card statements. Shred documents that have sensitive financial information, as well as any credit card offers that come in the mail.
-Never lend your credit or debit card with friends or cosign a loan or financing. This can come back to haunt you.
-Make sure your computer has up-to-date antivirus software. Always install updates. Have strong passwords in place and consider using an online password manager.
-Be smart about shopping online. Don’t shop or pay for anything using a public computer or an unsecured Wi-Fi connection. Make sure you’re using legitimate and secure websites that have a privacy policy in place.
-Review your credit, debit and bank statements carefully each month. Consider using a credit monitoring service with alerts in case of fraud.
-Check your credit report at least once a year with all three reporting bureaus for any suspicious activity or inaccuracies. You can do this for free by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com.

For more advice on fighting fraud and managing personal finances, visit www.midmobbb.org or call 573-886-8965. 

Article source: http://www.abc17news.com/news/avoiding-identity-theft-while-at-school/27843506

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