While settling into your new dorm room, you may want to take a few minutes and protect your personal information. Your BBB would like to warn both students and parents that thieves are using high and low-tech strategies to steal personally identifiable information.
The Federal Trade Commission mentions that there were almost 400,000 complaints regarding identity theft, which is a 3% decrease from last year. However, the number of victims reporting that their information was used for credit card fraud went from 15% in 2015 to 32% in 2016.
According to a Javelin Strategy and Research Report, 22% of students have fallen prey to identity theft, which is three times higher than average fraud victims.
To guard your identity:
1. Protect your numbers
Don’t carry your social security number and your driver’s license together and make sure you only share personal information with a small group of people that you know and trust. Protect your ATM codes, computer passwords, bank account numbers and make sure to check your credit card balance as often as you possibly can, to make sure no one has made any purchases in your name.
2.Don’t send important documents via mail
If possible, try to avoid sending important documents via mail. Also, don’t keep pictures of your Social Security card, driver’s license, passport or birth certificate on your phone or laptop, as they can easily be hacked.
3. Avoid using public WiFi
Public WiFi may be very convenient, but not 100% safe. Avoid paying your bills using public WiFi and avoid connections, as they may not be secure and you have no control over who gets a hold of your data.
4. Don’t overshare on social media
Posting information like your schedule, vacation times, being out of your dorm at a certain time are major no-nos. You may also want to be very careful not to share too much personal information online as it can help fraudsters guess your passwords and answer security questions for bank accounts.
If you believe your identity has been stolen, contact the FTC, file a complaint and report your experience to bbb.org/Scamtracker.
For more information you can trust, visit bbb.org/Evansville!