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BBB: Prevent identity theft while away at college

Posted: 9:55 AM, Aug 15, 2016
Updated: 2016-08-15 15:55:56Z
As college students move to campus for fall classes, Better Business Bureau reminds students and parents to prevent fraud and identity theft while living away from home.
 
BBB's Dale Dixon says identity theft is a big issue for college students.
 
"Thieves like young people, because their lack of financial experience likely means clean credit. The bad guys also hope their student aged victims don’t take the steps to protect themselves. Identity theft consistently is close to the top of the Federal Trade Commission’s list of complaints, and more than 65,000 of those complaints last year impacted people under age 29," Dixon said.
 
Dixon offers a few tips to keep personal information and money safe.
 
-Have sensitive mail sent to a permanent address: School mailboxes are not always secure and often can be accessed easily in a dorm or apartment. Send important mail to a parent’s home or a locked post office box.
 
-Important documents should be stored under lock and key: Consider purchasing a small safe to safely hold your Social Security card, passport and bank statements. Shred any paper documents that have sensitive financial information rather than just tossing them out. Also shred any credit card offers that come in the mail.
 
-Keep your computer and devices up to date and virus-free.
 
-Never let someone borrow your credit or debit card, even if they are a friend.
 
-Check your credit or debit card statements closely and daily: The sooner you identify any potential fraud, the less you will suffer in the long run. Getting your statements online is more secure, but make sure you actually look at the statements.
 
-Check your credit report: Visit www.annualcreditreport.com to safely check your credit report for free. Do this at least once a year with all three reporting bureaus to find any suspicious activity or inaccuracies.
 
For more information visit www.bbb.org .