As the fall semester gets underway on college campuses, students are being reminded to keep a close eye on their personal information.
Sandy Chalmers with the state Division of Trade and Consumer Protection says physical security is really important when protecting yourself form identity theft, so it’s best to either find a way to destroy or safely store those documents. As a result, she says a paper shredder or safe may be items to consider for the back-to-school shopping list.
Chalmers says college students often live in open environments, check financial statements infrequently, and share personal information online, which can make them an easy target for identity theft.
Students need to watch out for the flood of credit card offers as well, with pre-approved applications arriving frequently. Chalmers warns that it can be easy for someone to pick up that discarded mail and open an account in your name, so don’t just toss them in trash bins in public areas.
Chalmers says students should also be urged to avoid using unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots to shop or do their online banking. Many campuses now have strict security protocols in place, but students should be wary if working in a public space, such as a local coffee shop.
Chalmers also recommends teaching student to do frequent checks of bank statements and other online accounts, as well as conducting regular credit checks. Those habits can helpful in catching identity theft early on.