Business Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina offers seven simple steps to
protect college students from identity theft.
8.1 million Americans became victims of identity theft, according to the 2011
Identity Fraud Survey conducted by Javelin Strategy & Research and
sponsored by BBB. The average mean cost of identity theft is $631 and the
average time to resolve identity fraud is 33 hours.
fraud” accounts for 14 percent of all identity theft crimes. This means that
new roommates and friends have just as much potential of being dishonorable as
a foreign-based scam artist phishing on the Internet. Identity thieves think
nothing of rifling through unattended trash cans, taking mail from unlocked
mailboxes or even cruising social networking Web sites looking for personal information.
important for students to be vigilant in monitoring bank and credit card
statements to spot unauthorized activity,” said Toby Barfield,
president and CEO of BBB serving Eastern North Carolina.
“Students should sign up for security alerts on their accounts and have them
sent to their mobile phone so they will know if any changes have been made.”
recommends that college students take the following seven steps to fight
identity theft on campus:
Send sensitive mail to your
parents’ home or a post office box. School mailboxes are not always secure and often
can be accessed easily in a dorm or apartment.
Important documents should be
stored under lock and key. This includes your Social Security card, passport and
bank statements. Shred credit card offers and any paper documents that have
sensitive financial information rather than just tossing them out.
Make sure your computer has
up-to-date antivirus and spyware software. Always install any updates to your
computer’s operating system or browser software, which help keep your computer
safe from any new advances by identity thieves online.
Always check your credit
statements closely for any suspicious activity. The sooner you identify any
potential fraud, the less you will suffer in the long run.
Check out unfamiliar Web sites
Look for the BBB Accredited Business Seal and click on it to check out a
company’s Business Review.
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. You can do this for free by visiting
For additional information on
securing your identity, visit bbb.org.