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Tips for avoiding identity theft as a college student

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Monday Monday: How to find the best credit card for your needs
Published: Aug. 1, 2021 at 9:25 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - As college students prepare to head back to campus in the next few weeks, fighting fraud may not be at the top of their list of priorities.

However, college students can still be susceptible to identity theft. Thus, it’s a good habit to start monitoring for fraudulent activity now.

The Better Business Bureau recommends that college-bound students take the following nine teps to fight identity theft on campus:

  • Send sensitive mail to your permanent home or a post office box. School mailboxes are not always secure and often can be accessed easily in a dorm or apartment.
  • Sore important documents in a safe place. This includes your Social Security card, passport, and bank and credit card statements. Shred credit card offers and any paper documents that have sensitive financial information instead of throwing them away.
  • Don’t lend your credit or debit card to anyone. Avoid letting your friends borrow your card and don’t let anyone see your PIN when using an ATM.
  • Guard your passwords and don’t give them out to anyone. Use strong passwords and don’t use the same password for all sites.
  • Watch for phishing. Be vigilant and be careful of clicking on links in emails and texts. Verify the content with the website.
  • Make sure your computer has up-to-date antivirus and spyware software. Always install any updates and patches to your computer’s operating system or browser software, which keeps your computer safe from any new advances by identity thieves online.
  • Always check your credit or debit card statements closely for any suspicious activity. The sooner you identify any potential fraud, the less you’ll suffer in the long run.
  • Be careful when shopping online. Check out businesses on BBB.org and look for the BBB Accredited Business seal. See BBB’s tips for smart shopping online.
  • Check your credit report at least once a year. You are entitled to one free report a year from each of the three reporting bureaus: TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. Look for any suspicious activity or inaccuracies. You can do this for free by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com.

For more information, you can visit the BBB’s website.

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