One of the most vulnerable demographics for identity theft are college students.
According to Financial Time’s Steve Weismen, college students are five times more vulnerable to becoming a victim of identity theft. The 2015 report given by the Javelin Strategy & Research Identity Fraud also stated that college individuals are more often becoming the victim of identity theft as compared to the other groups. Moreover, it takes them at least twice longer to start repairing their identities upon their discovery that they have become a victim of it.
In addition, the Consumer Sentinel Network’s database of the Federal Trade Commission has also discovered surprising number of identity theft victims in college adults. Based on the database, 39,335 of consumers whose ages are between 20- 29 became a victim of identity theft all the way back in 2013. They surprisingly made up 20% of the total number of complaints regarding identity thefts that were reported on that same year. These statistics shows that the age range mentioned before shows the largest age range of 10 years suffering from the damage caused by identity thieves.
Steve Weisman said that there are two possible reasons why these individuals are the most vulnerable ones when it comes to identity theft. The first one is that they are living in close quarters and the precautions that they are taking are not enough to protect themselves from it. Moreover, there are several methods used for stealing one’s identity. It could be low tech, high tech or no tech at all. These individuals are vulnerable in whatever device they are using and whatever they are doing with these devices.
Most of these students do not even know how vulnerable they actually are. Data breach apathy has also played a big role on why these individuals are not even taking this issue seriously. Moreover, the more common these data breaches becomes, the less threatening they may seem.
Cases of identity theft involving college students is unlikely to decrease unless the students begin paying closer attention to their personal identifying information. There are many simple steps that all adults should be taking to help better protect their identity.
Here are a few tips that would help you get started with it:
- Keep your important documents safe
Documents like social security cards, passports, health insurance papers, bank and credit statements should be kept locked away when not needed. As much as possible, keep it in a locked room or invest in a quality safe. In case your roommates tend to leave the room unlock, then you should consider purchasing a safe or a deposit box where all of your documents can be placed.
- Do not give out your credit card
Credit cards are supposed to be for your personal use. Therefore, if a family member, a friend or a stranger wanted to borrow it, you should never lend it to them. Always maintain strict control over your cards and card numbers.
- Have mail sent to your home
If you’re concerned that the mail box at your location on campus is not secure, then you should forward your mail to your home or even at your parent’s home, especially the mail that may contain sensitive information. Another option would be renting a post office box for additional security.
- Keep your software updated
This includes both the anti-spyware and anti-virus software. It should always be kept updated all the time in all of the devices that you are using.
- Make use of credit monitoring
Credit monitoring services alert you whenever there are any suspicious activity with your credit files that may indicate fraud is happening. As most of these students are just starting to build up a good credit history and score, they help to ensure that your credit is be affected due to identity theft
My name is Jennifer Price and I started StopIdentityFraud.org because internet privacy & security are issues that are extremely important to me. As a private network security consultant, too often do I see the damage that can be caused by identity theft & fraud. It’s my goal to help educate people about id theft and how to better protect themselves against it. Feel free to get in touch with me here or on any of my social media profiles.