BBB alerts Acadiana college students to identity theft
College students have a lot to juggle when it comes to school, work and their social life; and avoiding identity theft often does not make their list of priorities.
They are very susceptible to identity theft and Better Business Bureau of Acadiana recommends that they take simple steps to protect themselves on campus.
According to Javelin Strategy and Research, identity theft committed against people aged 18 to 24 took the longest to detect — 132 days on average — when compared to other age groups. The average cost of losses to this age group, $1,156, was roughly five times more than amount lost by other age groups.
This is no different for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, which has a student body of over 15,000 students, many of whom are just establishing credit for their futures.
Identity theft often occurs from hacked computers and smart phones, stolen mail or even students being too trusting with friends and sharing financial information such as Social Security numbers or banking information.
BBB recommends that college students take the following steps to fight identity theft on campus:
· School mailboxes are not always secure and often can be often be accessed easily in a dorm or apartment. Have sensitive mail sent to a permanent address, such as a parent's home or a P.O. Box.
· Important documents should be stored under lock and key. This includes your Social Security card, passport and bank and credit card statements. Shred any paper documents that have sensitive financial information rather than just throwing them away.
· 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 helps 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.
· Check your credit reports at least once a year for any suspicious activity or inaccuracies. You can do this for free by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com.
· Start with Trust®. Check with the BBB before doing business.
The BBB of Acadiana works for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses.
The BBB of Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.
Acadiana residents can now have BBB information in the palm of their hand with the official BBB Search app, a convenient, mobile BBB solution available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The app can be found at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bbb-search-find-local-businesses/id440014505?mt=8.