College students more likely to be victims of identity theft

Alexandria Valverde

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From buying books online to accessing social media accounts, college students’ online information has become ripe for identity theft.

The Federal Trade Commission reported college student are about five times more likely to be victims of identity theft. The reasons include living in close proximity to others and not being cautious with information.

Many students that live on campus, including freshman fashion merchandising major Bethany Kurtz, don’t keep important information locked up.

“I just keep it in my desk,” Kurtz said.

Some thefts may occur in residence halls due to the fact that sometimes residents leave doors open or unlocked while they’re gone. Checkbooks, credit card statements and other personal information should be locked up because leaving those things in the open allows others to possibly steal information.

If you ever find yourself a victim of identity theft, take the following steps:

1. Contact any place that was directly affected, including your bank or credit card issuer.

2. File an Identity Theft Affidavit through the Federal Trade Commission online at

3. File a police report with your local police department.

Another way information can be stolen is through online activities.

On social media, users can provide as much information as they want to friends and followers, such as phone numbers and addresses. If an account isn’t private, that user can give information out to strangers without realizing it.

Thieves can steal identities through online shopping. If someone is a frequent online shopper, it may seem convenient to keep his or her credit card number on file or pay through systems such as PayPal.

But if that company is hacked, a person’s bank information could be stolen, which happened to a relative of freshman journalism major Brandon Welch, who said he’s now more aware of what can happen.

“A month ago, my dad got hacked,” Welch said. “They took $5,000 out of his account… If that happens to me, well, I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

One way that personal information can be stolen that many people don’t realize is through connecting to a public Wi-Fi and using apps that keep important information, such as a banking app.

There are ways to keep your information safe in a public area. Student Tech worker Jake Tobin said a big mistake students make is forgetting to log out of accounts from a public computer.

Other solutions include creating long and unique passwords and using private or “incognito” browsing windows on a public computer.

“When you close that window and you leave, it will get rid of all that information that you typed in,” Tobin said.

Contact Alexandria Valverde at [email protected].