Preventing identity theft on college campuses

It's that time of year when college students head back to campus to start another semester of classes.

College students can be more susceptible to identity theft during this new chapter in their lives. WEAU's Drew Williams visited the UW Eau Claire campus and has some tips on how students can remain safe.

What is supposed to be an exciting time in the lives of young adults as they move on to pursue higher education identity thieves see this transition as a window of opportunity to commit fraud. With just a few simple steps students can make it harder for criminals to strike.

Classes are back in session at UW Eau Claire and the campus is buzzing. Students have a lot on their plate. Buying text books, getting to class and studying but often identity thieves thrive on students busy schedules.

Sam Loftsgaarden is a sophomore here at UW Eau Claire, last year his credit card information was stolen. His bank gave him some tips to avoid the problem again.

Lofsgaarden says, "Make sure the website is secure and i'm not putting my credit card out on a bad website. If I've got a credit card statements make sure to put most of that stuff threw a shredder or something like that."

Sydney Schobberly, a freshman is in a similar boat. The other day her laptop was stolen.

Schobberly says, "Some of the precautions that I had to do were change my passwords to everything including my online banking account and that sort of thing. Just to make sure I'm protected."

Fortunately the laptop was fairly new, so there wasn't a lot of her personal information on it.

Lieutenant Jay Dobson with the UW Eau Claire Campus Police says they have few cases of identity theft reported on campus but admits many of the cases may go unreported to their department.

Dobson says, "Most of our resident students that do have issues with identity theft I think they notify their parents and then the parents will contact the financial institutions and sometimes the police departments of their hometowns and handle it that way."

Dobson says using common sense is the best tool for preventing identity theft. Always lock up any valuables, change internet password often and never give out personal information over the phone or to a stranger.

Dobson also says the UW Eau Claire Police website is an excellent source for finding more information on protecting yourself against fraud.

Dobson says identity theft cases are very hard to solve. Since they are
usually committed over the internet and often overseas so it's important that students are mindful of their own financial security.

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