Are Your College Students Really Safe From Identity Theft?

purge documentsWhile working for a college, the risk of identity theft may be at the back of your mind. After all, identity theft is more common at law firms and major business corporations, right?

Wrong.

In 2016, approximately one in every 16 American adults were victims of identity theft. And, in 2017, reports of student loan fraud increased by 120% from the year before.

But why are the students at your school being targeted by identity thieves?

Identity Thieves Vs. College Students

College students don’t have a lot of credit built up because they’re just starting off on their own. So why would identity thieves target students?

It’s actually because college students don’t have a major transaction history built up that makes them a hot commodity for identity thieves.

It can be difficult for banks to pinpoint unusual activity because college students don’t have many transactions. It can also be difficult for the students themselves to pinpoint unusual activity because they don’t think to check their finances because they’re not spending often enough.

Scammers use phishing schemes to steal the financial and personal information from college students. From there, identity thieves are able to use this information for financial, medical, and tax-related identity theft.

Common strategies identity thieves use to steal students’ personal information include shoulder surfing and sending out fake credit card offers. Shoulder surfing is when a criminal looks over a victim’s shoulder to see their personal identification number at the ATM or when they’re logging into their bank account online.

How can I protect my students’ personal information?

Because college students are targeted so often by identity thieves, it’s important that your college takes the extra step to protect their information. Consider talking to your students about the risks of identity theft and sending out emails when a phishing scam has been reported.

It’s also a good idea to purge documents that include a student’s personal information. It may be worth hosting a campus-wide document shredding event where students can come to deposit their old, unused documents to securely get rid of them.

Where can I purge documents at my college?

If you’re looking for a professional shredding service to purge documents you’re no longer using, Data Safe is the Portland document shredding service for you. To learn more about our on site shredding services or one time document purges, contact Data Safe to schedule your document shredding today.