College Campuses Specifically Targeted by Thieves: 7 Ways College Students Can Protect Themselves
Alpharetta, Georgia (September 14, 2010) Now that fall semester is underway and college students turn their attention to their marks, it is important to see that they are also perceived as "marks" by thieves. Nearly everyone has a personal story about how the easy access to dorm rooms and lounges allows expensive items like laptops, smart phones and bikes to "walk away;" but what they might not know is that increasingly thieves are targeting campuses for identity theft. Disturbing as it may be, protecting both physical AND financial assets has become part of the smart college experience.
According to Allison Southwick of the Better Business Bureau, "Identity thieves don't care if you’re a struggling student and don’t have a penny to your name; sometimes all they want is to exploit your clean credit record. Young adults that establish good habits for monitoring and detecting fraud are laying a path that will help create a healthy financial road for the rest of their lives."
BBB recommends that students take the following 7 Steps To Fight Campus Identity Theft:
- School mailboxes are not always secure and can often be easily accessed in a dorm or apartment. To combat sticky fingers in the mailroom, have sensitive mail sent to a permanent address such as the parents' home or a PO Box.
- Important documents should be stored under lock and key—such as in a filing cabinet. This includes social security card, passport and bank and credit card statements. Shred any paper documents that have sensitive financial information rather than just tossing them out. Also shred any credit card offers that come in the mail.
- Never loan your credit or debit card to anyone, even if they are a friend. Also just say no if your friend wants you to cosign for a loan or financing for items like a TV.
- Make sure your computer has up-to-date antivirus and spyware software. Always install any updates and patches to your computer's operating system or browser software which help keep your computer safe from any new advances by identity thieves online.
- Always check your credit or debit card statements closely for any suspicious activity. The sooner you identify any potential fraud, the less you'll suffer in the long run.
- When shopping on unfamiliar websites, always check the company out first with BBB online. Also look for the BBB Accredited Business seal along with other trust seals; click on the seals to confirm that they are legitimate.
- Check your credit report at least once a year with all three reporting bureaus for any suspicious activity or inaccuracies. You can do this for free by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com.
Other Ways To Protect Yourself
- Purchase low-cost, low-deductible, specialized insurance from a reputable company, such as CSI, to protect your possessions and identity. For instance, CSI, which has been featured on NBC10 and in the New York Times, covers identity theft, as well as stolen or damaged iPods, cell phones, laptops and other electronics that often are not covered by homeowners' insurance when students are on campus. For more information, go to http://www.CollegeStudentInsurance.com.
- When choosing insurance specifically to protect a college student's identity and possessions, ask the sales representative if coverage includes things that could occur on or off campus, such as: spilling drinks on a laptop, being pick pocketed while on spring break or studying abroad, or flood damage caused by plumbing issues or storms by your room or apartment.
More on Campus Identity Theft
For more information:
CSI Insurance Agency, Inc.
316 Maxwell Rd. Ste 100
Alpharetta, GA 30009
Phone: (888) 411-4911
Fax: (678) 832-4910