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Collegians Should Check Report Regularly Too

By Faye Mergel
Published: Saturday, September 26th, 2009

Experts always advise adult consumers to check their credit report regularly to avoid identity theft. However, with the rising incidents of identity theft among college age groups, scam investigators say that students must take extra precautions, too.

Collegians Should Check Report Regularly TooCases of identity theft are rising with college victims falling into scammers’ traps more often. The usual scamming venue: the Internet. There are many scam websites which pretend to be legitimate dealers of student items such as books. They solicit information from students and use this information that they collect to open fraudulent accounts where they incur debts for their use.

Why do many students still fall for scams in spite of sufficient warnings about identity theft? The reason is simple: scammers offer what no legitimate website can. They offer textbooks and other items at almost half the regular price, which entices students who are very eager to save in their education expenses. These scammers ask payment through major credit cards which makes students think that there are no frauds involved in the deal. Collegians will eventually give out vital information which crooks will later use to steal their identity: address, birth date, and Social Security number.

There are also cases when students reveal such information voluntarily, through social networking sites. This makes them all the more vulnerable to identity theft. Being too trusting and gregarious makes collegians prone to scams, investigators say.

However, there are scammers who are blatantly scamming yet many students still take the risk in exchange for tempting deals that scam sites offer. There are websites, for instance, which ask for the PIN or security number at the back of credit cards. Legal sites do not ask for these secured items since they can transact business legally without them.

To solve problems of identity theft, experts say that students should check their credit reports regularly. These reports can be retrieved for free from major credit reporting agencies (CRAs) such as Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. The Federal Government is also sponsoring a website which offers reports for free. “Annualcreditreport” gives credit reports for free once a year.  Once they retrieve their reports, experts advise students to check the credit information section.

This part contains all listings of accounts, transactions, and loans a person has with banks, card issuers, and retailers. Collegians should check if there are items which do not belong to them. They should report such fraudulent marks to the CRAs and file a written dispute to the CRA under the guidelines of the Federal Trade Commission. These guidelines are available on the department’s website; students can follow this in correcting credit report errors.

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