According to KFOXTV.com, college students are in a high-risk group when it comes to identity theft. Not only are college students less likely to check on their credit score than those who are not in college, but they are also less likely to shred documents containing personal information and they typically share their dorm rooms or apartments with virtual strangers. As a result, they are sitting ducks to identity thieves and getting their lives back in order can be quite difficult.
“Once it happens to you, trying to convince the credit bureaus that it’s not you is a monumental task,” said Justin Underwood, who is an attorney who specializes in identity theft in El Paso.
Fortunately, there are a few steps that college students can take to keep themselves protected from identity theft. Doing things as simple as shredding junk mail and checking on your credit score once per year will go a long way toward keeping yourself protected. It is also important to be careful about the type of information that is shared on social media sites such as Facebook.
In addition to taking steps to avoid identity theft, college students should also take certain steps to avoid damaging their credit. For example, students should avoid getting into financial arrangements with their friends, including co-singing for a purchase. Not only can it damage your credit if the person fails to repay the loan, but it also makes it easier for the person to obtain your personal information without your knowledge.
College students who want to keep their information protected should also keep a close eye on their computers, as hackers can very easily steal information from a computer that does not have the proper malware and anti-virus protection. You should also avoid storing any important information on emails or on your hard drive.
Similarly, college students should use caution when storing hard copies of important information. This is particularly true for those who share a dorm room with others. Sensitive documents that aren’t used on a daily basis should be contained in a safety deposit box or in a safe. It is also a good idea to get a post office box rather than having mail delivered to the mail boxes at a dorm.
Have you ever been the victim of identity theft? What did you do to get your credit back in order? Are you still struggling to clean up the mess that was left behind?