Our friend Denise Richardson of givembackmycredit.com has posted an interesting article on how college students are especially at risk for becoming victims of identity theft. Since July 2009 there have been more than 70 successful data breaches in 30 states; in 88% of these breaches an individual’s or student’s Social Security Number was shown.
One reason college students are more vulnerable to identity theft is because of the number of times they are asked to give out personal information. Some universities even use students’ SSNs for student identification numbers, which is then sometimes shown on a student ID card. It’s estimated that over a million students, alumni and faculty have been affected by a data loss or breach that exposed their personal information.
Personal information can be illegally accessed several different ways, such as outside hackers or even unhappy university employees who obtain the information to sell to identity thieves.
LifeLock recommends individuals who have been informed of a potential breach of personally identifiable information should;
* Do your research – find out what information has been compromised. This will help you identify the risks associated and the best next steps
* Consider utilizing an ID theft protection service – Services such as the advanced LifeLock Command Center protection suite offers members LifeLock Personal Breach Detection service, which actively monitors unregulated global networks for your identity information. If they find you are at risk, they will alert you by e-mail and help protect you against accidental personal information disclosures, not just from your personal computer, but many other computers that may store your personal information and participate in peer-to-peer file-sharing
* Place a fraud alert – Contact one of the three credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit. You will only need to contact one, and then that bureau will contact the other two on your behalf. With a fraud alert in place, creditors should be notified that you are concerned about identity theft when they receive a new application, helping to stop the extension of credit in your name to a thief
* Repeat as needed – You can renew your fraud alert every 90 days. It is important to note that you will need to renew in order for it to stay in effect. (You may also remove a fraud alert at any time.)
* Request your free credit report – Do this as soon as possible so that you are able to see evidence of an identity theft appear on your credit report, should one exist.
The fastest growing group of identity theft victims is young adults age 18-29. Colleges and universities are working with LifeLock’s educational programs to teach students and faculty on how to avoid having their personal information taken in the event of a breach.
If you have had problems with identity theft and have further questions or concerns, feel free to contact us through our website or by calling 205-879-2447.
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