Who Is at Risk?
The answer is everyone. However, the more you educate yourself and stay current on the new trends of identity theft, the more protected your information becomes.
Students may even be more vulnerable to identity theft because of the availability of your personal data and the way many students handle this data. According to a recent national survey by the U.S. Inspector General:
"Almost half of all college students receive credit card applications on a daily or weekly basis. Many of these students throw out card applications without destroying them. Nearly a third of students rarely, if ever, reconcile their credit card and checking account balances. Almost 50% of students have had grades posted by Social Security number."
Common Ways Identity Theft Happens
- Changing Your Address: The thieves may divert your billing statements to another location by completing a "change of address" form. Therefore, you will never know of existing accounts.
- Dumpster Diving: The thieves rummage through trash searching for bills, credit card applications or any other paper with your personal information on it.
- False Advertisement: Thieves pretend to be workers for financial institutions or companies and send spam, pop-up messages, or call you to get you to tell your personal information.
- "Old-Fashioned" Stealing: The thieves steal wallets and purses or may steal personnel records from their employers, or bribe employees who have access.
- Skimming: The thieves steal credit/debit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card. This can be anywhere.