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Student ID Theft

BBB Tips for College Students on Avoiding Fraud

BBB Column

College students are returning to campus for the start of the semester, and with confusion surrounding new COVID-19 procedures, they may not be thinking about protecting their identities. Students are becoming more susceptible to fraud, which means educating children and young adults on financial literacy is more important than ever.

Help your student establish healthy financial practices with these tips from your Better Business Bureau:

  • Keep sensitive mail secure. Have mail with sensitive information, such as credit card statements or financial aid documents, sent to your permanent address or a post office box. Dorm mailboxes can often be easily accessed by other people.
  • Store important documents. Designate a secure location to store your important documents. This includes your Social Security card, passport, banking information and credit card statements. If you don’t want to keep documents that may have sensitive information, shred them before throwing them out.
  • Never lend credit or debit cards. It may be tempting to let a friend borrow your card if they forget or lose theirs, but it is safest to refrain from doing so. You should also keep your PIN numbers private and avoid co-signing on loans.
  • Guard your passwords. Don’t share your passwords with anyone and create strong passwords that can’t be easily guessed. Always use double-factor authentication when possible.
  • Watch for phishing scams. Students receive a lot of emails, which can make it difficult to sort out the scams from the legitimate communications. Never click on links or open attachments from a sender you don’t recognize. Phishing scams can also be sent over text or social media.
  • Keep your software updated. Make sure your phone and computer have the latest updates on their operating system. This will include security updates, which can help protect against malware.
  • Check credit card statements. Check statements for your credit and debit cards regularly. Look for any suspicious activity, and report anything you find to your bank or credit card company. The sooner you identify fraud, the easier it will be to fix it.
  • Shop smart online. Read reviews and check business profiles at before shopping with a retailer online. Only give your credit or debit card number to a secure site. Look for the icon next to the URL to see if a site is secure.
  • Monitor your credit. You get one free credit report each year from each of the credit reporting bureaus: TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. You can use these to check for any inaccurate or suspicious activity.

Visit us at to find more tips for students on avoiding scams.