IDENTITY THEFT PREVENTION
Anyone can be a victim of identity theft. Thieves can use your name, birth date, social security number, student identification, drivers’ license, birth certificate, passport, and credit card numbers to commit crimes and ruin your credit, which may take years to restore. Follow these tips to help reduce your risk of having your identity stolen:
- Never carry your Social Security card in your wallet. Always keep it in a safe, secure place at home.
- Be aware of anyone who is standing near you when you are writing a check or entering your PIN number.
- Check your credit report often. You might want to consider signing up for a credit alert service that will let you know if there is suspicious activity regarding your bank account.
- Do not share any personal information via email or over the phone with anyone you are not familiar with.
- If you receive an email from a stranger, never open any link attached to the email. You could be susceptible to both a virus on your computer, as well as having your computer hacked and personal information disclosed.
- Install firewall software on your computer.
The Better Business Bureau also recommends young adults take the following ten steps to protect their identities at college:
- Update smart phone operating systems regularly. This may help prevent thieves from hacking into your system.
- Protect the home screen of your phone with a password to prevent strangers from accessing your phone.
- Send sensitive mail involving account numbers or other personal information to a parent’s mailbox.
- Update anti-virus software on computers and regularly scan computers for viruses.
- If a birth certificate or social security card must be on campus, invest in a lockbox and keep sensitive documents in it.
- Purchase a low-cost paper shredder to properly dispose of all bank statements and other personal information.
- Be wary of disclosing personal information to websites. Research the site thoroughly before providing your name, account numbers or any other information. Visit necal.bbb.org to verify businesses.
- Sign up for paperless billing to cut back on bills being mailed to a dorm room.
- Never lend a credit or debit card to anyone.
- Check your credit report once a year at annualcreditreport.com. Look for inaccuracies or suspicious activity.
The California Student Aid Commissioner recommends you take the following action if you think you are the victim of identity theft:
First - Contact the fraud departments of each of the three major credit bureaus:
Second - Close the accounts that you know or believe have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.
Third - Contact law enforcement officials to file a police report with your local police or the police in the community where the theft took place. If the theft may have occurred on campus or involving your college identification, financial aid, or other college records, then immediately contact Campus Police at (626) 585-7486.
If someone has contacted you about student financial aid services, and you suspect fraud:
- Right away, contact your school’s financial aid office with any information you may have, such as the name and telephone number of the person who contacted you; the company/business they said they represent; what they said or what information they asked you for.
- If you are contacted about a service provided by the California Student Aid Commission and you suspect fraud, contact the Commission’s Customer Service staff at 888-CA-GRANT, that’s 888-224-7268. You may also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about identity theft, please stop by the Campus Police station (B-210) or visit these web sites:
- California Student Aid Commission
- Federal Trade Commission
- Social Security Administration