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Mysterious Items Appearing on Student Credit Reports

By Faye Mergel
Published: Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America simply because scammers have so many potential victims to work their crimes on. But parents have lately been alarmed not only by the fraudulent items on their credit report, but on their college student’s as well.

Mysterious Items Appearing on Student Credit ReportsWith more than 10 million Americans being robbed by identity thieves each year, it is not unlikely for college students to be included in their victim list. But investigators recently note an increase in the number of students whose identities were stolen.

A recently published report by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reveals that more than 8,000 Ohio residents of diverse age filed identity theft complaints last year. The number of students who were among the victims is undisclosed but sources say they make up a huge portion of them. With fraudsters still on the loose, the best that students can do for now is to protect their identity.

A major banking institution in Ohio established several guidelines to help students guard themselves against identity theft. Students who are holding accounts with Capital are advised to change their pins every ninety days and to use special characters in their passwords to deter fraudsters.

Those who suspect that they have become a victim of identity theft are advised to inform authorities immediately. They are also advised to freeze their credit report to avoid other people from accessing it. Some schools in Ohio are automatically disabling students who may have been hacked.

Instead of being alarmed, many students have sought ways to guard themselves and shared them with others. According to sophomore student Bailey Smith, he shreds any document containing his social security number instead of throwing it to the waste container right away. He added that he does not provide any personal information unless it is needed in a transaction.

Aside from Bailey’s tips, students can also protect themselves by not sending personal identifying information over the internet or phone. If they do send those information through mail, they must make sure that they know who they are sending them to and that those information will remain secure.

An IT student advises fellow collegians to make sure that they are browsing at a secure site when shopping online. He says a website is safe if the url bar is green or if the url starts with http.
FTC reminds students and adult consumers that they are entitled to one free credit report each year. The agency says consumers can easily deter and detect identity fraud if they keep track of their accounts.

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