College Kids And Identity Theft

MMVI, CBS Broadcasting Inc
10/16/2006 – Parent 2 Parent: College Kids And Identity Theft
(KUTV) We’ve all heard about identity theft but new research indicates college kids are most at risk. In Parent 2 Parent report what your college student needs to know.

Last year at college, someone stole Eric Leonhard’s bank account number and used it to sign up for a monthly subscription to a website.

“I had been billed $25 evenly for 8 months, making a total of $200,” said college student Leonhard.

Eric is not the only co-ed hit by identity theft… according to the Federal Trade Commission; 18 to 29 year olds have the highest rate of identity theft -nearly 70,000 complaints filed last year alone.

“Identity theft is a crime of opportunity,” said Foley.

Linda Foley with the Identity Theft Resource Center says there’s plenty of opportunity on college campuses.

“They leave their bills sitting on table tops which means that person has access to credit card numbers,” said Foley.

“I was living in a residence hall at the time. My roommate had a lot of friends over; I had a lot of friends over. I imagine it would not be too hard for someone to come across my information somehow,” said Leonhard.

Some schools even require students to put their social security number on term papers and exams! To cut the risk, Foley says there’s one item every college co-ed should add to their back-to-school list.

“A cross cut shredder is a vital piece of equipment,” said Foley.

Foley says students should shred any old bills, credit card and bank statements, junk mail solicitations… and anything with their social security number on it. For paperwork they need to keep.

“Have a locked box where they’re keeping their bills, they’re keeping their social security card.”
After his incident, Eric didn’t want to take anymore chances,” said Foley.

“I invested in a paper shredder to eliminate bills and that sort of thing, so no one else could read them. That’s something I use religiously now,” said Foley.

It’s important to shred any documents with personal information as soon as you’re done with them.

Students may also want to have paper bills sent home and use online billing instead but make sure your laptop password is protected.

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