Workshop educates students on identity theft – WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

CARBONDALE — Experts say people within the ages of 18 and 24 years old have the highest chance of identity theft, and the inconvenience and loss that goes with it. 

Zachary Shaw, an SIU student, knows the threat of identity thieves all too well, after they hacked into his bank information.

“I had money saved up, and then I went to my account, my bank account with Banterra Bank, the next day, and everything was gone,” Shaw said.

Shaw had to prove to the bank he hadn’t made purchases overseas. The bank froze his account, while he investigated.

“I had to scratch my old card, which meant for that point for about two weeks, I was on nothing but cold hard cash,” Shaw added.

SIU leaders call his story common for people in that age group. They held a workshop Wednesday to teach students not only what to do if their identity gets stolen, but how to prevent hacking in the first place.

SIU financial literacy expert Jordee Justice says the best way to protect yourself is just staying on top of your bank statement.

“What to look for, and just basic protection tips on making sure you’re checking your bank account, making sure you’re checking your credit reports every once in a while,” Justice said.

Justice recommends limiting your ATM, debit, and credit card use at public or online outlets to prevent hackers from accessing personal information. Shaw agrees, and says he now takes it one step further by keeping his bank account at a low balance.

“The way I do it is I make sure I have enough money to get my bills paid, and I always keep maybe five or six bucks in the bank. That way if it happens again, I’m not out a whole lot” Shaw concludes.

Shaw says he and the bank finally settled everything, and he got all of his money back. Meantime, Justice says limiting yourself to cash doesn’t always provide the safest solution. She encourages everyone to check bank balances frequently, and report any suspicious activity to your bank immediately.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, scammers stole $16 billion from more than 15 million U.S. consumers last year, and over the past six years, identity thieves made off with more than $107 billion.

Article source: http://www.wsiltv.com/story/35027230/workshop-educates-students-on-identity-theft

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