Tips to protect college students from identity theft

The Better Business Bureau is urging parents to talk with their teenagers about identity theft before sending them off to college.

Mara Clingingsmith, Regional Director of the Quincy Better Business Bureau, says it could save them in the long run financially.

"They’re leaving a secure safe environment hear at home with their parents who kind of help shelter them from some of those things that can happen but it’s very important that they talk," Clingingsmith said.

Tips for protecting your student include advising them to not log onto public Wi-Fi to check bank information, because a connection might not be be secure, which thieves could be watching to steal information.

Bob Sorenson, a parent who will be sending two daughters off to college soon, says he worries about thieves targeting college students for identity theft.

"We’ve also gotten on their accounts with them so we can see, they give us their passwords and stuff for us to have, so we monitor their bank accounts," Sorenson said.

 More tips from the Better Business Bureau about protecting college students against identity theft include:

  • Never lend your credit or debit card to anyone, even if they are a friend. Just say no if your friend wants you to cosign for a loan or financing for items like a TV.
  • Make sure your computer, laptop or tablet has up-to-date anti virus and anti-spyware software.
  • 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. Getting your statements online is more secure, but make sure you actually look at the statements.
  • 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 tossing them out. Also shred any credit card offers that come in the mail.

For more information or questions contact the Better Business Bureau at (217) 209-3390 and to track scams in your area click here.

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