Students aren’t typically known for having a lot of money or particularly great credit scores, so why would they be a target for identity theft? The truth is that identity theft is not just about stealing money or financial assets; it’s about stealing personal or financial information and using those details to try and open credit card accounts, secure a loan, and commit other various fraudulent acts.
During this time of transition, a student’s identifying information may be in multiple different places due to life changes such as moving into a dorm or apartment, filling out background checks to sign a lease or activate utilities, or applying for colleges or employment. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that 20% of identity theft incidents in 2018 were committed against victims ages 29 and under.
Gone are the days where it was enough to send your college freshman off to school with new bed sheets and a shower caddy. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), it is equally important to arm them with a document shredder and a locking storage box, as well as the knowledge about identity theft and other scams they may encounter while living on their own for the first time: