Back to school; secure your finacial information

Published 9:58 am Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The time has come for school to be back in session, from elementary to college classes — summer is over and a new semester has begun.

The Better Business Bureau of Kentucky released a statement about how students can protect themselves from identity theft, to which they are especially venerable to.

“Children are especially good targets for ID theft because they have zero credit history and no questionable banking transactions in their history,” said Heather Clary, BBB Director of Communications. “A child can have their ID stolen through their social security number and you may not find out about it for years.”

Due to college students usually being relatively independent for the first time, this leaves them susceptible to identity theft. Living in dorms and opening debit and credit accounts can leave a college student wide open to financial predators. Keeping your financial information as safe as possible is a must.

There are a multitude of tips the BBB lists that students are encouraged to follow. The first being that a student not carry their social security card number on their persons. It is advised to leave it at home, preferably locked away.

If your school asks you for your social security number, be mindful and ask questions as well. Ask why the information is needed, where and how the info will be stored and who will have access to it.

When out of your dorm, only carry the necessities in your wallet or purse — things like your driver’s license, debit/credit card. With your computer, be vigilant with its whereabouts and who may have access to it. Also, keep anti-virus software up to date. It is also advised to keep personal documents stored in a lock box, safe or some equivalent.

Passwords for your financial accounts should be long and unique and never use the same password for multiple things. Also, never check financial accounts on public wi-fi.

And while it may seem like common sense, never lend out your credit card or debit card and keep tabs on your credit history.

For more information, visit https://www.bbb.org.