Graduates beware of Identity Theft
Worried about finding a job after you graduate from college? Worried about paying off your debts? It gets uglier: New college grads need to think about their identities being stolen. One-third of identity theft complaints come from young adults.
A new college graduate will often have a clean credit history. If the new college graduate discovers, however, that their credit score is inexplicably low, it’s probably because their identity has been stolen. This can be a nightmare.
Compounding the issue is that some businesses will check the job applicant’s credit report and use this information against them by not hiring.
Prior to graduation, the college student should do a credit check; it can be done annually online free of charge. Young adults should never have an “It can’t happen to ME” approach to one of life’s raw realities: the proliferation of identity theft.
College students should always shred all of their bank related statements, credit card statements and all other documents that contain very personal information.
College students should avoid posting their birthdates, phone numbers and addresses on social media.
- Ask your parents to explain whatever they know to you about online scams like malicious e-mails (phishing), suspicious pop-up ads, buying apps from third party sellers, etc.
- Avoid debit cards; use only a credit card because thieves prefer to steal identities through debit cards.
- Memorize your SSN so you can keep your SSN card in a safe place at all times.
- Check your credit card statements every month for suspicious charges.
- Never give out your SSN, even if the clerk at the retail store insists they need it so that they can give you an intro 15 percent off with the store’s credit card.
- Go to www.annualcreditreport.com to check your credit report every year.
- Get identity theft protection and a credit freeze.