Did you know that one-third of identity theft victims are under the age of 30, and most of those are college students?
As a student, you can take special precautions to make sure your personal information doesn’t fall into the hands of would-be thieves. If you live in a community setting, like a dorm, fraternity or sorority, keep your personal papers, such as your birth certificate, Social Security card, transcripts, FAFSA form or other documents with personal information, in a fire-proof lock box. These are relatively inexpensive to purchase and available from a variety of stores.
Instead of tossing documents that include sensitive information in the trash, use a cross-cut shredder to destroy them. It’s also a good idea to keep your passwords secret. If you must write them down to remember them, store them in the lock box with your other sensitive items.
Here are a few other tips to keep you safe from identity theft:
• Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet or have your number printed on checks.
• Don’t give out personal information over the phone unless you initiated the contact.
• Don’t use obvious passwords, like your name, birth date or mother’s maiden name.
• Be on the lookout for bills that don’t arrive as usual.
• Keep an eye out for charges to your account that you didn’t make.
• Monitor your credit history.
Visit www.annualcreditreport.com to get one free copy of your credit report each year from the three major consumer reporting agencies.