5 Identity Theft Tips for the Undergraduate

College students on campus with books and laptop.

Teenage undergrads and those in their early 20s need help when it comes to identity theft because identity theft is rampant on campuses. Here are give tips to help your young people protect themselves when they are away from home.

  1. Advise your student not to use his or her school mailbox to receive important documents. Take that same advice and don’t send important documents to them at that address. School mailboxes can easily be broken into and bank or legal documents can be stolen. Consider using a mailbox located at the local Post Office or send important documents to the student’s permanent address, perhaps the parent’s home.

  2. Group of college students standing together

  3. Advise your children to never loan their debit or credit cards to anyone. If it is your teen’s turn to pay for the take-out food at college, but he is busy studying and the roommate offers to get it, have your teen give them cash or have them go themselves and pay with a credit card. They must be told to never let that card out of their possession or leave it around the dorm room.
  4. Advise your teen to look at bank statements and all other financial statements closely when they arrive. Have them watch for any suspicious activity on debit or credit cards. Advise them to shred their bank statements or lock them up. As the parent, get online access to your student’s credit card and bank statements and look at them once a month to make sure they are right. Set up a security notification arrangement with the credit card company to notify you if there is suspicious activity on the card.
  5. Advise your student to ignore all email and other messages regarding the request or demand for financial information. If there is a problem with a student’s credit card or bank account, tell them not to respond to the message or call an 800 number in the email. Have them call the number imprinted on their credit card to determine if there is a problem. If the email concerns a bank account, train them to look up the local bank branch or go to the bank’s website and get the proper 800 number to call. If your student is young, you handle it the first time.
  6. Tell your student that all financial information and credit cards must be carefully secured in a dorm room. Use a small lock box or small safe to keep all information.

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