Headed to College? Don’t Become a Victim of Identity Theft – by Christine Bowen

Perpetrators of identity theft have the ability to obtain credit cards and loans in your name and then not pay the bills. They can open utility accounts, rent an apartment, obtain a cellular phone, and even purchase a car or a home on your dime, without your knowledge. They can commit crimes in your name and leave you with a criminal record. Undoing the damage done by identity theft isn’t easy—it’s a long, hard road to prove what is your responsibility and what is not. Protect yourself now by following these rules.

Leave Your Social Security Card at Home

Your financial livelihood is linked to your social security card. The only time you should ever have to display your social security card is when you are hired by a new employer. Do not carry it in your wallet, rather leave it in a safe place at home, preferably in a fireproof safe. You might even consider renting or safety deposit box.

Purchase a Shredder

As a young adult you will receive applications for credit cards from a multitude of lenders. Anyone with your information can take those applications and apply for credit in your name. Protect yourself and shred all documents that contain personal information, including bank statements, credit card statements, utility bills and tax documents.

Use Identity Protection

Identity protection from companies such as Lifelock, provide protection against fraudulent activity including your credit reports, public records, and websites where stolen information is frequently bought and sold. As with any theft, the sooner you become aware that identity theft has occurred, the sooner you are able to recover.

Look over your shoulder

Shoulder surfing” is a new high tech way of stealing your identity. Today’s cellular phones enable thieves to video record your information either as you complete an application form or enter your information into a computer. Prevent this type of identity theft by remaining aware of your surroundings. Take note of who is listening and who has a direct line of sight to your keypad. If you have any reason to be suspicious, walk away.

Stop Phishing

The act of obtaining victims’ sensitive information by posing as a trusted company is called “Phishing.” For example, you receive an email from your bank requesting you verify your password or social security number via email. Do so and you are providing basic information to an identity thief. Learn to recognize spoofed emails and websites that urgently ask for various types of information. Use extreme caution when you receive an unsolicited email concerning your account information.

Know Emergency Contact Information

Ensure you have an inventory of all your lenders along with their contact information. Should you discover your identity has been stolen you will need to contact all your creditors as soon as possible to prevent any further damage to your credit. You will not want to waste any time struggling to contact credit card companies while you watch your savings account dwindle to nothing.

Author Bio

Christine Bowen runs her own business and blogs about a variety of topics. Her favorite topic is about college students because she has a daughter in her second year of college at the moment.


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Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley is a bestselling author, speaker, and media contributor for Business Insider, CNBC and a few other national media outlets.

His Rich Habits research has been read, viewed or heard by over 50 million people in 25 countries around the world.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, holds a master’s degree in taxation and is President of Cerefice and Company, a CPA firm in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
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