Protecting Yourself From Identity Theft

As a college student, you’re more vulnerable to having your identity stolen from you than most. It’s not an entirely scientific statement, but out of all they identity theft complaints that are made, college students represent the highest percentage. It’ a scary thing to have happen to you and the process of getting everything back is certainly something you don’t want to go through, so you’ll want to do what you can to protect yourself. The Wall Street Journal gives some good tips as to how you can protect yourself:

  • Use a cross-cut shredder to destroy any unneeded documents that have important information on them and use a lock box store store important material such as your SS card and your laptop.
  • Keep your computer protected with security software and avoid using unsecured WiFi networks.
  • Try not to give out personal information that would normally be asked by institutions such as your bank to validate your identity. This would include anything live your DOB, birthplace, mother’s maiden name, or even your family pet.
  • Avoid credit card booths. Also, use your cross-cut shredder to destroy any credit cards you may get in the mail that you will not be using.
  • Add a password to your smartphone.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Apparently, there’s people called “shoulder surfers you take picture over your shoulder when you’re not looking. Weird.
  • Check your credit score and bank statements throughout the year. Most likely, you probably have an online account, so you should have quick access to your transaction history.

Also, if you do happen to find that your identity has been stolen, they also add this:

“If you determine that you are the victim of identity theft or notice fraudulent account activity, notify your identity theft coverage provider so they may immediately contact your banking institutions, credit card companies and three major credit bureaus to stop the fraud from perpetuating. If you do not have identity theft coverage, report the suspicious activity to the appropriate institution and request a new account number as well as a fraud alert notice on your account. Placing a fraud alert on your account makes it more difficult for new accounts in your name to be opened. Also order copies of your credit report and notify the appropriate credit bureau in writing of the fraudulent account activity. Additionally, file an identity theft report with the FTC and your local police department.”