Students are least concerned about identity fraud, yet are more prone to being victims, according to new study.
According to the annual identity fraud study by Javelin Strategy Research and LifeLock, 64 percent of students are not concerned about identity fraud. However, 22 percent of students have a three times higher chance of being identity fraud victims.
“It’s not about how to protect students from fraud, it’s about how students should be protecting themselves,” said Gary Cantrell, a criminal justice professor. “When your identity is stolen, your credit gets ruined and it can take years to fix.”
Dixie State University professors put their two cents in on how students can protect themselves from identity fraud.
Be aware of transactions
“Anybody can be an identity theif and steal your information, credit or money,” Cantrell said. “The solution to the problem is being more aware of bank statements and transactions.”
Students can do this simply by checking their checking account every day for any odd activity, Cantrell said.
“I had a friend who was scanned for years, small transactions every month,” Cantrell said. “This is why students need to know that watching your online bank transactions daily is very important”.
“Technology has made it so easy at making us feel safe,” said Joan Runs Through, assistant director of the DSU computer crime institute. “Back in the day we had to carry around our own checkbooks, and write all of our transactions manually. Now everything can be calculated by itself, keeping us confident in how much money we spent or put in.”
“Whether it’s a gym membership, phone bill or Netflix account, make sure to keep track of when and who you’re giving your money to,” said Shauna Morgan, an adjunt professor for CIT. “Students have lost a lot of money this way; be aware and careful with who you trust, and where your money is going.”
Check debit reports
According to both Runs Through and Cantrell, checking credit scores is a good way to see if our credit is safe and untouched.
“You’ll want to check credit reports to make sure nobody is using your identity,” Cantrell said. “If there ever is suspicious activity with your credit score, one must file to have [his or her] credit frozen immediately, especially students because their credit score can be severely damaged in their future.”
Keep track of where your money goes
Everyone uses the internet, and students tend to do a lot our errands online, Morgan said.
Whether it’s eBay, Amazon, Ticket Master, Craigslist or any other purchasing websites, online purchases permanently have access to your credit cards, Runs Through said. Students must be careful where they purchase things online, Runs Through said.
“Even third party companies can spend your money without you knowing.” Runs Through said. “I once had an issue with Google Wallet, so I made sure to cancel my Google Wallet [account] and change all of my information. I changed my gmail, my security questions, and other information in order to prevent any further hacking.”
Secure your Passwords
Cantrell said even students who live in the dorms “must keep their computers laptops and phones locked at all times with personal passwords.”
“That way no one can steal information when you’re not around,” Morgan said. “The more mixed and lengthy the password is, the harder it is to crack down. Never share or write down your password or leave it out publicly for everyone to see.”
Cantrell said “it’s always better safe, than sorry” to follow all the safety tips to stay safe online.