Better Business Bureau Warns Colleges Students About the Risk of Identity Theft
College students are returning to school, and scammers are, unfortunately, ready. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has found that 18 to 24-year-olds are more likely to lose money to scams than other age groups.
The BBB stated that students are often unprepared to deal with their finances. Therefore, the BBB recommends that students be more careful with their personal information to reduce identity theft risk. For example, the BBB suggested that students not lend their debit or credit cards to friends or leave them out where anyone can access them. Here are other tips the BBB gives for avoiding identity theft:
- Protect your personal information offline and online.
- Dispose of documents you don’t need if they contain personal information, such as bank account numbers or your Social Security number.
- The BBB suggests going paperless. However, if you choose to print out documents containing account information, store them in a secure location in your room.
- If an apartment rental seems like an outstanding deal, don’t give out any financial information until you see the apartment. This tip includes apartments you would be sharing with a roommate.
- Check your financial accounts regularly and set up app alerts for important information.
- Do not share your PINs with anyone.
- Be careful when applying for credit cards. Some credit card offers are fake and attempt to obtain your personal information. If you are interested in an offer, pursue it directly through the banking institution or credit card flier.
- Take care when receiving any calls offering scholarships, grants, or a reduction in loan payments. Look for scam alerts online and read reviews about the company. Also, contact the financial aid office at your school for advice and help with obtaining financial aid.
- Check your credit report frequently for signs of fraud. You can obtain a free credit report once a year at the government website annualcreditreport.com.
Understanding that your identity still runs the risk of theft even if you follow all of BBB’s tips is crucial. If you suspect identity theft, contact the police and your financial institutions promptly. You may also want to run a self-background check to ensure your identity has no surprise criminal charges. Additionally, if you plan on getting a part-time job, this would be an excellent opportunity to confirm that everything on your background check is correct. Finally, should you find any errors, you’ll have time to correct them.
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