College is an exciting place – there are a lot of new people to meet, new things to learn, and relationships to build that can last a lifetime. However, making the transition to college isn’t exclusively full of fun and excitement. While you may think about protecting your personal safety and your property, you may not be as aware of identity theft and the need to protect your name and credibility. Unfortunately, identity theft can have long-lasting results on your credit, and it’s a headache to deal with. Here are three key ways to avoid identity theft in college.
- Don’t keep birth certificates, social security cards, passports, or sensitive information at school. The less a potential thief has access to, the better. Have all sensitive information sent to your parent’s or a trusted relative. If this is not possible, invest in a lockbox and a PO Box at a local post office and keep everything there. Unfortunately, dorm mailboxes are not very secure. Also, be sure to shred all unused credit card offers, rather than just throw them away.
- Keep your credit to yourself. You may want to be a buddy, but loaning a credit card to a friend is a recipe for disaster. Even if your friend is trustworthy, the card may get compromised by others. Also, cosigning a friend’s loan – even for something small, like a television – puts your credit at risk. The safest way to navigate school is to keep your credit your own.
- Check your credit regularly. Many college students don’t realize how easy it is to get a free credit report every year. This is a simple way to review your current credit accounts and make sure there is no suspicious or unrecognized activity. In addition, carefully review your credit card bills each month to make sure there are no unusual charges.
Going to school should be an exciting, fun experience. Don’t let it be ruined by credit issues. Be sure to keep your key documents secure, don’t share your credit, and review all credit accounts regularly. With your identity safe, you can relax and enjoy the more exciting elements of your college experience.
This post is from VitalChek – your official source for government-issued vital records. With secure online ordering, partnerships throughout the country, and quick turnaround, we’re the one to trust. When you need birth certificates or marriage, divorce, or death records, VitalChek is your #1 source.
Are you a student getting ready to leave for college? Let us know how you plan on keeping your identity safe in the comments below!