Campus Safety for Your Credit Card
By: Larry Goldberg
If you’ve just arrived on campus, you may be worried about the safety of your new student credit card, and with good right. More than seventy thousand college students reported identity theft last year, and that number seems to be on the rise. Since identity theft can cost you thousands of dollars in lost time and money, the best step is to prevent the problem in the first place.
ID theft can occur if someone steals your wallet, if someone steals your mail, if someone goes through your trash that contains personal information, if someone breaks into your dorm or apartment and steals personal files, if someone breaks into your online accounts and steals the information you have stored there, or if you respond to an e-mail phishing scam.
It’s impossible to prevent identity theft while you’re on campus, but there are several things you can do to keep your risk levels a bit lower. First, be sure that every account you have is protected not only by a difficult to guess password, but also by a security question that only you would know the answer to. Something like “What was your first pet’s name?” usually does the trick. If someone does manage to steal your account information, they won’t be able to access it without both the security question and the password itself. Second, if you do keep personal information around your dorm or your apartment, find a good way to secure it. Whether you use a lock box, a safe, or just a great hiding place, find a way to keep it safe. Finally, ask campus security about the current identity theft protections in place on your campus. Student credit cards can lead to identity theft, but these tips can help you minimize your risk.
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