If you are a college student living in a dorm or with roommates – or even if you have a roommate or have had one in the past – you may be opening your door to identity theft.
In one case a college student had his identity stolen after a roommate gained access to his birth certificate, passport, social security number and banking information. The thief was transferring money from his roommate’s bank account to his own and using the money for books and personal expenses.
College students in particular can be perfect targets for identity theft because they have a lot of people coming and going from their room. Maybe you trust your roommates but what if they host a study group or have some friends over when you’re not there? These “friends” could gain access to your student loan or financial aid paperwork.
Additionally, college students receive a lot of credit card applications in the mail and often discard them without destroying them. Adding to the risk is that almost 50 percent of students have their grades posted by Social Security number according to the US Department of Education
If you are a victim of identity theft in college, you could end up with debt and bad credit before you even have your first job. Cleaning up the damage could take months and in the time it takes to do that, you may lose job opportunities or be refused loans for education, housing, or even your first car. The US Department of Education recognizes that identity theft is a growing problem for college students and has created a website to help.