College students are particularly susceptible to identity theft. They often have clean credit histories and are generally not as vigilant about identity security. Here are the top 5 things you should do to protect yourself.
Be Social Media Savvy: Your status update is not the only thing that can reveal sensitive information. Does your profile display your date of birth? This is a critical piece of information. Review your profile carefully and remember your social network is not as private as you think. Even if you limit access to your friends, it is easy for an imposter to assume the identity of a friend.
Watch your stuff: Having your wallet, mobile phone, your laptop, stolen is bad enough, but unfortunately, that may only be the beginning. These items often carry vital information as well. Never leave them unattended in class or in your car.
Use your student number: when you registered for school at FNU, you were issued a student number. It is even printed on the student id you are required to wear on campus. Whenever you seek assistance from anyone on campus, either in person or over the phone, ALWAYS use this student number instead of your social security number. You never know who is listening.
Beware wireless: Many students study in locations that offer free wireless internet. Never access any financial accounts from these locations, even if the website begins with https. This only indicates that website utilizes a secure server. You, however, are accessing from an open network, leaving your information vulnerable to intrusion.
Shred, Shred, Shred: Never throw away bank or credit card statements. Shred them. As a college student you may also receive numerous pre-approved credit card applications. Never throw these away without destroying them. Generally, these applications have all of your vital information already filled in, making this one of the easiest ways for identity thieves to start a line of credit in your name.
For more information check out these articles:
Preventing Identity Theft: A Guide for Consumers