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Identity theft

Identity Theft

Hello everyone, this week we will be discussing identity theft. There has never been another time in history where identity theft has been more prevalent.

You may be wondering how I am aware? I was a victim of identity theft before I could even begin my life as an adult. When I was a kid our house caught fire from electrical issues. My parents had our important documents in a safe. While we were sleeping later that night, someone stole the safe out of the car and all our identities as well.

If you’re like me, my first thought was “Well that was dumb. What did you think would happen?” Looking at the situation, I understand it was a traumatic day and even the best of us lack judgement sometimes. However, at 18 years old I couldn’t even open a checking account before attending college. There were several other issues that came up, but I was able to recover.

Since is digital and let’s be honest, we have all purchased items online at least once. Therefore, your financial information is vulnerable to fraud.

Let’s look at this even closer to home. If you are reading this I can assume you are a college student, correct? Attending college is one of the biggest investments you will make in your lifetime. Although scholarships and grants are available, you still may use a loan to pay tuition.

If/When you apply for a loan please be cautious. Loan applications require sensitive personal information, like your address, social security number, birth date, passwords, etc. With that in mind, you need to be on your guard when applying to prevent identity theft. As a student, having your identity stolen may have long-term repercussions. For instance, it may hinder you from getting a job after graduation or prevent you from signing a lease on an apartment. Essentially, your fresh start after college could be less like a dream and more like a nightmare.

College campuses and towns aren’t exempt from identity theft. As a student, you need to be just as careful in the college library as you need to be in a crowded coffee shop. Student identity theft happens all the time when you use unsecured public Wi-Fi networks, have a thief looking over your shoulder, or leave personal documents out in your dorm room or in a public space.

Ways to avoid being scammed:

  1. Don’t click random links on the web
  2. Never click the links or open attachments from people you don’t know
  3. Avoid using public Wi-Fi, use a Virtual Private Network if you can
  4. Password protect your devices
  5. Never give out personal information over the phone
  6. Check your credit regularly
  7. Protect your personal documents
  8. Limit your exposure by not carrying all your credit cards or identifying information

I hope this was helpful. Please remember – scammers are real and it is your job to protect yourself. Let’s Build.