When it comes to identity theft, young people are the main goal. Students are four times more likely to be the target of fraud that can go unnoticed for years compared to other consumers. In fact, 15% of students face severe or moderate consequences of fraud, according to a report by Tulein University.
Criminals can use student identities to commit fraud, such as taking loans and opening credit cards, while the victim does not know what is going on.
Students may be at risk if they use public Wi-Fi networks or become victims of phishing emails. If this seems too familiar, then there are a few practical ways to help avoid it. Here’s how college students can get help to protect themselves from identity theft.
What should college students do to avoid identity theft?
In today’s digital age, scammers can hijack your personal information in a variety of ways. But if you take extra precautions, you can set up a security network where you will no longer be an easy target for identity theft.
You can do this:
Do not share information on social networks.
Do not share personal information that may be associated with the accounts and passwords you use. Ideally, you should do more complex passwords which do not contain any of your personal information.
Store security information on your hard drive, not on your device.
If you keep confidential documents, you can feel at ease. So if your phone or laptop is stolen, you don’t have to worry about the thief using your identity.
Frequent password changes.
You may be tempted to use the same password multiple times. But it’s not a very good idea. Use different to better protect your personal information.
Recognition of phishing scams.
Many offenders use fake credit lists and fake scholarships to get college students to share their personal information. Make sure you only share this information with a reputable institution.
Be careful when using public Wi-Fi.
Public networks are not secure. You can stay safe if you do not access your financial or personal information on a public network. In fact, the FTC recommends paying attention to the web browser alerts you receive.
If you use public Wi-Fi, you should enable a VPN that stores your information in encrypted form.
Where can college students report identity theft?
I wonder who you should contact in case your identity is stolen? Here are some options that may help.
FTC (Federal Trade Commission)
As a college student, you can report the theft of personal loan data FTC. You are asked a couple of questions, after which you can get the necessary recovery plan.
CFPB (Bureau of Financial Protection)
If you want to complain about student loans against financial companies, CFPB can help.
ICCC (Center for Complaints of Internal Crimes)
A student who is a victim of cybercrime may file a complaint in ICCC.
How to recover from identity theft as a college student
If someone has seized your identity without your consent, it is vital that you take steps to be able to recover from that harm. Start with an inventory of damage. Evaluate your current accounts and see if there are any unauthorized payments. Next, freeze your credit reports and place them in fraud alerts.