FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) - Tomorrow's leaders are being robbed today. More college students are becoming targets for identity theft.
More than 11 million people became victims of identity theft in 2009 according to a national study. Many of those robbed of their identities were college students.
Better Business Bureau officials of Northeast Indiana say that’s because many times students will give out information for free merchandise or food and don’t check their credit report as often.
On average a college student lost $1,100 in 2009 to identity theft, five times more than other age groups, because it took them the longest amount of time to realize they were scammed – 132 days on average- according to the 2010 Fraud Survey Report.
“People are looking to get your social security number so they can go and take out loans, credit cards, information,” Better Business Bureau of Northeast Indiana Mike Coil said. “If they have a social security number and a name that's what they're looking for. And college students need to be aware they just can't be giving that out.”
IPFW Junior Darrick Ness says he knows not to give out his social security number but doesn’t know how to protect his current credit accounts.
“I have multiple credit cards but I never check them,” Ness said. “I mean I do have a concern about it but I don't know what to do about it.”
Coil says students should take advantage of the free yearly credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com. He says this is one of the top ways to protect yourself.
BBB Representatives say even if you don’t have a credit card or a penny to your name, sometimes thieves want to exploit your clean record.
“Just don't give that information out,” Coil said. “And don't be applying for credit cards or things like that. Because again if you give that information out and somebody gets it they can do a lot of damage.”
Coil reminds students to put their bank and credit card statements away while living with a roommate or inviting people over. He says many times other students will swipe your information and can set up credit cards in your name.
To learn more about protecting yourself from identity theft at college click on the “BBB Theft Tips” link in the top right corner of this story.
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