As college students begin the process of getting settled on campus, fighting fraud may not be their top priority.Published August 30, 2013
As college students begin the process of getting settled on campus, fighting fraud may not be their top priority. However, college students are among the most susceptible to identity theft, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) recommends eight simple steps they can take to protect themselves as the school year begins:
Sign up for security alerts on your accounts and have them sent to your mobile phone. This simple safeguard will tell you immediately if changes have been made to any of your accounts.
Have sensitive mail sent to your parents’ home or a post office box. School mailboxes are not always secure and are often easily accessible in a dorm or apartment.
Store your important documents under lock and key. This includes your Social Security card, passport and bank and credit card statements. Shred credit card offers and any paper documents that have sensitive financial information rather than just tossing them in a dorm trash can.
Never lend your credit or debit card to anyone. Just say no if your friend wants to borrow your card or asks you to co-sign for a loan or financing for items like a TV.
Make sure your computer has up-to-date antivirus and spyware software. Always install any updates and patches to your computer’s operating system or browser software, which help keep your computer safe from any new advances by online identity thieves.
Always check your credit or debit card statements closely for any suspicious activity. The sooner you identify any potential fraud, the less you’ll suffer in the long run.
Check out and verify unfamiliar websites with the BBB. Visit bbb.org and look for the BBB Accredited Business seal along with other trust seals; click on these seals to confirm that they are legitimate.
Check your credit report at least once a year. You are entitled to one free report a year from each of the three reporting bureaus: TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. Look for any suspicious activity or inaccuracies. Get your free credit report by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com.
For more helpful tips you can trust, visit www.bbb.org/us/bbb-news.