College students now prime targets of identity theft

Concentrating students at the lecture hall

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV) – College students heading back to campus are the major targets for identity theft. Identity thieves don’t care if you’re a struggling student and don’t have a lot of money. What they want is your clean credit.

Javelin Strategy & Research found more than 20% of students are notified of fraudulent activity. That’s 3 times more than the average person.

College students are one of the biggest victims of identity theft because they have clean credit, and many of them are starting to use credit cards for the first time.

American International College’s IT department has seen students lose their identity because they don’t keep track of their activity. “Your credit statements, your bank statements, check them weekly, not monthly,” says Mimi Royston, AIC Chief Information Officer. “Don’t wait for the statement.”

College students are 4 times more likely to be the victim of “familiar” fraud, which is fraud committed by a roommate or acquaintance.

AIC freshman Austin Leclerc told 22News, “They probably have the closest access to you and all of your other belongings since you dorm with them or spend most of your time with them in college.”

“I just try not to think about it,” says AIC freshman Shawn McBride. “There’s a lot of things that can happen at college when you’re away from home. I obviously try and be smart and not get caught up in it.”

The Better Business Bureau recommends college students take these steps to protect themselves:

  • Sign up for security alerts on your accounts and have them sent to your cell phone.
  • Send important documents home, not to the school mailbox.
  • Put passports and social security cards under lock and key.
  • Shred financial documents.
  • Never lend your credit or debit card.
  • Make sure your computer has up-to-date antivirus software.

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