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Protect against identity theft

From the Orientation 2010 Parent Newsletter

People between the ages of 18 and 29 are the group most commonly victimized by identity theft. Students are uniquely vulnerable because of the public availability of their personal information, their access to credit cards, and their lack of attention to credit issues. Almost 90 percent of identity theft cases at universities occur without the victim realizing it for several months.

Students can protect themselves:

  • Lock the door to your room or apartment.

  • Protect the security of credit and debit card numbers and personal identification numbers (PINs).

  • When choosing a PIN, don’t use an obvious number such as birth date, last four digits of a Social Security number, address, phone number, or any consecutive numbers.

  • Remove personal information from checks, such as middle name, phone number, Social Security number, or driver’s license number.

  • Never give out personal or financial information over the phone or internet unless you know with whom you’re doing business.

  • Be alert to “phishing”scams—emails that look like they come from a bank or payment service. Typically spam emails ask you to verify or disclose banking or personal information.

  • Monitor bank, credit card, and phone statements before paying them. Report any unauthorized activity.

  • Monitor credit reports. You can receive a free copy of your report yearly from each of the three major credit-reporting agencies.