DENVER (CBS4) – As the fall semester begins for colleges and universities, the Better Business Bureau has issued a warning for a certain age group of adults who are vulnerable of being a target for identity theft.
The BBB says college-aged adults are the largest group of victims for identity theft.
According to The Consumer Sentinel Network, a secure, online database of millions of consumer complaints available to law enforcement, consumers between the ages of 20 and 29 were victims of identity theft in 2012 at a higher rate. That age group accounts for 21 percent of the total number of identity theft complaints reported last year — the largest out of any 10-year age range.
The following are some tips to help you protect yourself:
- Use the Internet safely and always check the company out before you leave personal information.
- Secure your mail. Campus mailboxes are often easily accessed in a dorm or apartment. Have sensitive mail sent to a secure post office box.
- Store documents safely, including your Social Security card, passport and financial statements. Shred anything that contains sensitive financial information.
- Check your statements frequently. Look for any suspicious activity or purchases on your debit or credit cards.
The top categories within identity theft that are the most common forms are benefits fraud at 46 percent, credit card fraud at 13 percent, phone or utilities fraud at 10 percent, and bank fraud at 6 percent.
Do not give personal or financial information through an unverified website. Also, if searching for housing, beware of rental scams on sites like Craigslist. Check your credit report at least once a year. You are entitled to a free credit report once a year.