College-age adults, 6 tips to protect yourself from ID theft

Young adult, you may think older people are most vulnerable to identity theft. They’re still adapting to new technology, right? That isn’t the case. Statistics show the age group most at risk is college-age adults.ID-100129142If you’re a y

With school, work and busy social lives, young adults often aren’t as careful as they should be with personal information. Better Business Bureau wants to warn college-age adults of their vulnerability to identity theft.

According to the Consumer Sentinel Network, 57,491 consumers between 20 and 29 had their identities stolen in 2012. That’s 21 percent of the ID theft complaints reported last year, the largest of any 10-year age range.

College-age adults attract identity thieves  because they often have good, clean credit scores. It pays for students to be aware of identity theft, scams and other rip-offs they might face living on their own for the first time.

BBB offers these simple steps college students can take to protect their identity:

  • Secure your mail. Campus mailboxes are often easily accessed in a dorm or apartment. Have sensitive mail sent to a permanent address such as your parents’ home or invest in a secure post office box. This will also lessen the complications of multiple addresses.
  • Store safely. This includes your social security card, passport and bank and credit card statements. Shred all paper documents that contain sensitive financial information and any credit card offers that come in the mail. To ask for a copy of your free credit report, BBB recommends using Experian, TransUnion or Equifax.
  • Safeguard your information. Don’t share your information with anyone without knowing why it’s needed. Most schools now use a student identification number instead of a social security number for added protection.
  • Check your statements frequently. Look for any suspicious activity or purchases on your debit or credit cards. The sooner you find potential fraud, the sooner any fraudulent charges can be refunded.
  • Check your credit report at least once a year. You are entitled to a free credit report once a year. Request a report and look for any suspicious activity or inaccuracies.
  • Consider identity theft protection services. If you are unable to routinely monitor your accounts and information, consider enrolling in identity theft protection services. These services help watch your credit and public records for suspicious activity and will alert you if something is found. Some of these services also offer more recovery and resolution help should you fall victim to identity theft.
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1 Comment

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One response to “College-age adults, 6 tips to protect yourself from ID theft

  1. Mark Burrows

    I have to agree, when I was at that youthful period of time, we did not have debit cards as of yet, but we had the craziest amount of credit cards. Not like today when it is primarily Visa or Mastercard, and a few other, but just about every department store had their own credit card, and there were other bizarre cards as well. It was the dawning of the age of credit, and we were passing these things around like crazy. Someone needed a shirt, “Here, take my card for Mr. Shirt.” (There really wasn’t a Mr. Shirt, but chain stores had credit cards as well.). We were not concerned about identity theft, we were more concerned when we received the statements and wished we had another identity. Yet, like most at that time, we managed to convince our parents to cosign loans to pay off these weird credit cards and destroy them with the promise that we would stay in school and make something of ourselves. In a way, this sort of nailed us down, we had to stick to studies plus hold down what ever part time jobs we could muster to pay living expenses and pay off the loan. This got us into practice for when we finished out extended education to pay off our student loans. Well, some of us did.
    I can’t speak for the youth of today, but I do know that it is a period of life no matter the generation, and it has been so throughout history, that they try to be both practical and carefree, but carefree has the upper hand. Having social freedom and the start of adult responsibilities is a tough spectrum. It will make you or break you.

    Mark Burrows

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