Between homework and exams, identity theft is the last thing on college student’s minds, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be ripped off, especially since so many of them use credit cards instead of cash.
Student Nadine Schiefer has friends who’ve fallen victim to identity theft. She and her mom worry it will happen to Nadine since she uses her credit and debit cards to purchase just about everything like meals, books, and entertainment.
Marina Schiefer says, “You have to go through a long process trying to fix all the problems that this can bring.”
Nadine knows not to share sensitive information like passwords, credit card numbers and her Social Security number, unless absolutely necessary. Consumer
Reports says there are other ways critical information can leak out.
Bree Fowler, Consumer Reports Electronics Editor, cautions, “Criminals love public Wifi because it may not be secure, potentially giving those criminals access to your computer. For things like shopping or banking it’s better to use private Wifi that you access with a password.”
Consider using your phone’s data connection for sensitive transactions. That’s also safer than public Wifi for banking or shopping. Fowler adds, “It’s important to keep in mind that college databases have been hacked recently.
Now while students can’t do much about that, they can take steps to limit the damage from data breaches whether on campus or elsewhere.”
Change passwords and check bank statements and credit cards for unauthorized charges.
Also check with the credit reporting companies, Transunion, Experian and Equifax for unexplained debt. And if anyone has tried to open up credit in the student’s name inform the bureau that the attempt was fraudulent.
If you think your identity has been stolen consider also putting a temporary freeze on your credit. That’s done through the 3 credit reporting agencies.