Hog-tie ID Thieves
Identity theft occurs when your personal information is stolen and used without your knowledge to commit fraud or other crimes.
Did you know that one-third of identity theft victims are under the age of 30, and most of those are college students?
As a student, you can take special precautions to make sure your personal information doesn’t fall into the hands of would-be thieves. It’s a good idea to keep your personal papers, such as your birth certificate, Social Security card, transcripts, FAFSA form or other documents with personal information, in a fire-proof lock box. These are relatively inexpensive to purchase and available from a variety of stores.
Instead of tossing documents that include sensitive information in the trash, use a cross-cut shredder to destroy them. It’s also a good idea to keep your passwords secret. If you must write them down to remember them, store them in the lock box with your other sensitive items.
Here are a few other tips to keep you safe from identity theft:
- Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet or have your number printed on checks.
- Don’t give out personal information over the phone unless you initiated the contact.
- Don’t use obvious passwords, like your name, birth date or mother’s maiden name.
- Be on the lookout for bills that don’t arrive as usual.
- Keep an eye out for charges to your account that you didn’t make.
Monitor your credit history. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com to get one free copy of your credit report each year from the three major consumer reporting agencies.