Online Originals: BBB warns incoming college students about identity theft

School Watch

JACKSONVILLE (WNCT) — Many college students across Eastern North Carolina are going back to school this week. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Eastern North Carolina is warning students about identity theft. 

They say it’s important for students to establish good habits for detecting fraud now so they can have those habits for the rest of their lives. 

College students are five times more likely to become victims of identity theft. BBB says when college students enter campus, identity theft isn’t the most prominent thing on their minds. They also say they’re adjusting to having a new life, so most of the time they aren’t as skilled as adults when it comes to recognizing suspicious things. 

“College students are actually one of the most susceptible age groups to identity theft,” said Nick Hill, the communications specialist at the Better Business Bureau. 

They also added that college students live in close proximity to each other, so it’s easy for information to get out. 

“School mailboxes are not always as secure and can be accessed easily in dorms or apartments,” said Hill. 

One easy way students can protect themselves is by shredding sensitive paper documents so nobody can access them and having any personal mail sent to their permanent homes. The BBB also warns college students to be aware of phishing scams.  

“There’s multiple avenues that identity theft can happen, one of them being phishing, where through something like an email or a text message, scammers can basically trick you into giving them your personal information,” said Hill. 

Some of the other things they recommend college-bound students do to fight identity theft on campus are:

  • Never lend your credit or debit card to anyone
  • Guard your passwords
  • Make sure your computer has up-to-date antivirus software
  • Be careful when shopping online
  • Check your credit report once a year

The BBB also adds everyone is entitled to one free credit report a year, college students included. 

“You can check that by visiting annualcreditreport.com,” said Hill. 

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