Consumer Protection is urging young adults to protect their identity, and their bank accounts.
Most of us know the importance of guarding our personal information — name, address, phone number, mother’s maiden name, social security number, date of birth, etc. In the wrong hands, that information could financially ruin an individual and destroy one’s credit rating, so says Sandy Chalmers with Consumer Protection.
“The most common method identity thieves use is still the old-fashioned steeling your wallet or dumpster diving. It’s really important to have a shredder. If you don’t have one, that’s probably the most important step you can take to protect yourself.”
The Federal Trade Commission says young people, ages 20 to 29, are the most likely to become victims of identity theft. Chalmers says that’s because they do more of their business online. She urges college students to regularly balance bank accounts and watch for unauthorized charges. In fact, everyone should check their credit reports frequently.
Chalmers says we don’t have to be victims of identity theft. “The interesting thing about fraud is that it requires a willing victim. At some time you have to give the criminal some kind of information that allows him to take advantage of you.”
Chalmers also suggests you check your mail daily and shred items containing personal or financial information; and protect your computer and smartphone.