Protecting Your Identity
Identity theft is a crime which is growing more common each day. This type of financial fraud can be devastating to a person financially and emotionally. It can take much time, effort and patience to recover from these crimes. There are many ways identity thieves may steal your identity, including but not limited to, going through trash cans or dumpsters and stealing bills and documents with sensitive information, misusing a position in businesses, medical offices or government agencies to steal personal information, misusing the name of a legitimate business to trick you into revealing personal information or pretending to offer a job, and a loan or apartment asking you for personal information in order to ‘qualify’ (Federal Trade Commission, 2012).
Anyone can perpetrate these crimes including someone you know. According to the Federal Trade Commission (2012), there are some preventative actions you can take to help protect your identity:
- Read your credit reports (for free every 12 months) from the three nationwide credit reporting companies
- Read bank, credit card and account statements
- Shred documents that show personal financial and medical information before throwing them away
- Avoid responding to email, text and phone messages that ask for personal information. Legitimate companies do not ask for information this way.
In some instances, college students are targeted by identity thieves. Lack of resources and information can make the impact of financial fraud even more devastating. If you believe that you are the victim of identity theft or other type of financial fraud, Student Victim Assistance can offer assistance in navigating resources and working to pick up the pieces and reduce the amount of damage caused by this crime.