As college students you see them – the tents, tables, balloons, and freebees like pens and t-shirts lining the sidewalks of your busy college town. Most days you walk on by, but today they’ve caught your attention. And why not, the t-shirt is pretty cool, and who doesn’t like a free t-shirt? It only takes a few minutes to complete the credit card application. “I won’t use the card if I get it.”

You just provided a stranger on the street enough personal information to steal your identity for a $10.00 t-shirt.

Your personal information is valuable, to you and to the criminals looking to take advantage of your innocence and naiveté. This tactic is only one of many that should be kept in the back of your mind when it comes to your personal data security. Be aware and do not fall prey to:

  • ­ Scholarship/Grant Phishing schemes – telemarketers, text messaging, email – one way or another, fraudsters are determined to trick you into providing personal information
  • ­ Public computers – pay attention to who is around you, delete all temporary internet files, sign off of all websites, and do not enter credit card information
  • ­ Public Wi-Fi – key logging software and other virtual tracking devices can capture valuable information about you, your behaviors, your log-ins, payment information and more
  • ­ Roommates – there’s no harm in reducing your risk; store all sensitive information in a secure location

It’s difficult enough to keep your identity secure, don’t make it easier for thieves to steal your valuable information. A proactive approach to protecting your identity is multi-layered and begins with securing your personal information. However, regardless of your own diligence, you information is still at risk! Colleges, online shopping malls, the IRS, etc. are all susceptible to data breaches which can expose your personal information. Use identity protection, like SHERPA® to monitor the information you can’t.