Identity Theft Prevention Tips

Tips To Protect Yourself From Identity Theft

College students are common victims of identity theft. Therefore, we recommend that you take a few simple steps to protect yourself:

Secure your mail:  Have sensitive mail or packages sent to a permanent address or a secure U.S. Post Office box.

Don't share too much on social networks: Avoid adding personal identifiable information (i.e.; Date of Birth, Address, or pets’ names) on your Twitter, Facebook or other network which can be used to establish an identity or hack your accounts.

Important documents should be securely stored: This includes your social security card, passport and bank and credit card statements. Do not leave them lying around the dorm/apartment since people are always coming in and out. Invest in a small lockbox or safe. Shred all paper documents that contain sensitive financial information and any credit card offers that come in the mail. (DON’T just throw it out!!!)

Review your credit and debit card statements frequently: As you receive your statements, review them. If you find discrepancies notify the bank or credit card company immediately. The sooner you notify them; the faster they can work on removing the charges and stop any further activity.

Trust NO ONE! Feel the need to buy a friend’s meal or supplies, go with them instead of letting them take your card with them. Avoid co-signing for a loan or other financing. Never give out your PIN.  

When you're out, keep your purse or wallet with you: Just a minute is all thieves need, so keep your personal belongings with you at all times. If you leave the room with your laptop, always keep it in sight. 

Make sure your computer software is up to date: Many public Wi-Fi systems can be susceptible to hackers, especially those that are not password-protected. Be sure your antivirus software is up-to-date. Never use a shared computer workstation to pay bills or shop online. But if you do-clear the history and cookies. Don’t save passwords on public computers.

Check your credit report at least once a year: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion each offer a free credit report once a year. Request a report and look for any suspicious activity or inaccuracies

Request your IRS Tax Transcripts yearly even if you do not file taxes: Thieves who have stolen your SSN can submit a forged tax return and attempt to obtain a fraudulent refund. We recommend that you request a transcript yearly to ensure your identity has not been compromised.

Resources and Helpful Links