Washington, DC – As students head back to class at colleges and universities across the country, the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) says identity theft should be a top concern. Young adults between ages 18-29 are the group reportedly most victimized by this crime.”Many colleges are wising up to identity theft by removing social security numbers from student IDs but there are other potential dangers like pre-approved credit applications,” said Michelle Boykins, communications director at NCPC. NCPC recommends that students shred pre-approved credit applications and take other precautions to reduce the risk of becoming a victim.
To prevent ID theft
Remove your Social Security number from personal checks, driver’s license, and school identification cards. Securely store your SSN card in a place other than your wallet.
Never give out your personal information over the phone or Internet unless you have initiated the contact. Be careful of information you list on social networking sites that can lead a thief to your personal information.
Properly dispose of documents with financial information. Shred pre approved applications, bank statements, phone bills, credit card receipts, and mail-order catalogs that hold valuable information tied to your identity.
Check your credit report once a year with the three major credit bureaus. Check immediately if you think something unusual is going on with your accounts. You can get a copy of your credit report for free at www.annualcreditreport.com.
If you’re a victim
Report suspicious activity right away. Alert any one of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion) to the possible fraud and close the account you suspect is compromised.
File a police report. You may need to provide proof as you try to recover from the incident.
File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.consumer.gov/idtheft.