According to the Javelin Strategy and Research 2013 Identity Theft Report, individuals aged 20-29 account for one in five complaints of identity theft reported to the FTC, which is the largest number of complaints among any age group. At the same time, the number of identity theft complaints within this age group filed has increased from 56,635 complaints in 2010 to 57,491 in 2012 according to TribLIVE. These trends suggest hackers and identity thieves are taking more interest in young adults. One of the primary reasons is that college students who generally have good credit scores are much less likely to watch their financial accounts and credit scores.
To protect yourself from fraud, you need to understand identity theft and take all of the precautions to reduce your risk, especially while you are applying to schools and visiting campuses. Below are tips for protecting your identity and your financial future.
If you’re going to college, you have lots of things on your mind: choosing the right classes, getting good grades, finding a place to live, making friends, etc. You’re probably not thinking about identity theft, but according to the U.S. Department of Justice, about one out of 20 college age people will be a victim of identity theft. Losing everything that you own is not the college education that you are trying to get.
Colleges Give You Plastic
There was a time when the only purpose of a college ID card was to get you a discount at amusement parks. Now most college finances go through the student ID card. Often they are linked to a bank account and serve as a debit or credit card. Because all of the account information is linked, one slip can mean losing everything. Scambusters.org cites carelessness with financial aid information as one of the top reasons that students fall victim to identity fraud.
One of the ways to protect your credit is to never give your financial aid PIN to friends. With PIN information, a clever thief can get all of your other specific account information, including your Social Security number and residency data. The funds can also be diverted into the perpetrator’s account.