College Students as Victims of Identity Theft

College Students Vulnerable to Identity Theft

victims of identity theftCollege students made up roughly 25% of all victims of identity theft last year. According to the Better Business Bureau every 3 seconds someone is a victim of identity theft, that is approximately 18 Million victims each year!

Some reasons for this shocking statistic are that college age students are not as careful with personal information, typically share housing with others, and do not have access to identity theft protection services.  This type of identity theft typically occurs when a roommate steals credit card information or credit card information is discovered in dumpsters.  Once identity theft has occurred, most victims are unaware because they do not have identity theft protection or account alerts setup.

Some suggested strategies to reduce the risk of identity theft are:

Opt Out on Pre-approved Cards – College students are still receiving pre-approved credit cards in the mail even though the Credit Card Act of 2009 was supposed to stop this practice.  One way college students can eliminate this problem is to go to and opt-out of these mailings.

Shred Sensitive Documents – Just as Mom and Dad shred sensitive documents so should college age students.  Along with the laptop and fridge, buy you son or daughter a good paper shredder before they leave for college.

Go Paperless – Identity Theft is much more difficult if there are no documents to steal out of the dumpster.  Help your college student by logging on to their credit card account with them and show them how to sign up for paperless billing.

Enroll in Identity Theft Protection – If your college age student must have a credit card, be sure to enroll them in an Identity Theft Protection service.  These services monitor credit card activity and contact you if suspicious activity is detected.

Check Credit Report Annually – Checking your credit report annually is a smart way to catch errors but it is also free.  Logon to

Secure Your Technology – Identity Theft also occurs when wifi or other telecommunications transmissions are intercepted and mined for personal data. This information is then sold almost instantly to anyone with access to a computer and the internet.  Update your technology with the latest virus and spyware software and make sure it is monitored for threats.

These suggestions won't eliminate Identity Theft but it will reduce the chances that you will become a victim.

Have you been a victim of identity theft?  I would love to hear your story…

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25 Responses to College Students as Victims of Identity Theft

  1. Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank 07/18/2015 at 4:52 am #

    I am gonna advice my mom to buy a shredder for my sister who is a college student and has been a victim of identity theft. Nice and very helpful tips Paul.

  2. Paul 04/18/2013 at 9:13 pm #

    Glad you found the article useful Alex!

  3. Alex 04/18/2013 at 2:18 pm #

    This article was awesome!! Thank you. Being fairly new to the student identity theft arena I am constantly trying to gather as much information as possible to try and keep myself headed in the right general direction. Spending some time on this post has actually given me a lot of great points to think about. In my recent research I have also been able to find some pretty useful information related to this topic when I Googled the credit locker university. This was helpful as well. Thanks again!

  4. Monica 10/03/2011 at 10:53 am #

    Your advice is very timely, because a lot of college students, especially freshmen are woefully uninformed about identity theft. And, considering how much of their life revolves around the electronic media and social networking, its no wonder that they are prime targets. We have a 19 year old college student and he has already received a credit card offer in the mail, but of course he would have to have a co signer because he is under 21 years old and doesn’t have enough income. However, I know the day will come when he needs one and I can only hope that we have thoroughly educated him on financial responsibility to avoid credit card debt and identity theft.

  5. Paul 09/26/2011 at 5:33 pm #

    We have been shredding all of our sensitive documents for years. As a matter of fact the shredder we currently have is starting to make noises, I think we will be buying a new one soon!

  6. Ben - BankAim 09/26/2011 at 12:02 pm #

    Its interesting that College students made up 25%. I wonder who makes up the rest? Senior citizens? I remember when I was going to college, I would get credit card offers in the mail constantly, but I always made sure I shredded everything that came in the mail like that.

  7. Paul 09/24/2011 at 5:50 pm #

    It is a disturbing trend that college students are still being targeted. In fact according to a recent study by The University of Houston Law School, most of the college students surveyed have received offers for credit cards. Don’t quite understand how this is permitted to continue even after passage of the Credit Card Act of 2009.

  8. Jesse @ BP 09/24/2011 at 5:18 pm #

    You’d think college kids would be the last targets but thinking about it, many college kids spend on credit like they don’t have to pay it anyway so maybe it would take longer for authorities to notice.

  9. Paul 09/21/2011 at 6:40 pm #

    I’m with you on the credit card offers. I just heard on the radio this morning that Citi mailed out 346 million credit card offers, that’s more than one for every man, woman, and child in America. Crazy!

  10. Paul 09/20/2011 at 8:29 pm #

    Luckily we have not had to deal with this issue. I think because we have been really careful with our information has made a difference. Have a good week Marie!

  11. Marie at FamilyMoneyValues 09/20/2011 at 7:04 pm #

    Identify theft is scary stuff to me. I grew up in the era before it was a problem. Good job raising awareness for the college crowd.

  12. Paul 09/20/2011 at 6:07 pm #

    Hey Kyle,

    I stopped by your site to wish you a happy 25th! A crazy night playing Yahtzee huhh?
    You can also use for free to monitor your credit.

  13. Kyle @ The Penny Hoarder 09/20/2011 at 6:00 pm #

    That’s so sad! 25% of college students? Crazy.

    I think those are some great tips. I spend $12/month on credit monitoring and I think it’s money well spent.

  14. Paul 09/19/2011 at 11:14 pm #

    It is especially important for Parents to show their children how to take care of their financial information.

  15. Paul 09/19/2011 at 10:57 pm #

    It is a pretty easy list of things one can do to protect yourself against identity theft.

  16. Untemplater 09/19/2011 at 8:47 pm #

    Identity theft thieves make me so mad. I put myself on that “do not send me credit card offers” list (the official name escapes me now) but I still get them and have to call up the companies and tell them to take me off the list. I can definitely believe a lot of college students don’t shred their mail and with the amount of info people publish about their identities online, it’s no wonder this type of crime keeps going up. -Sydney

  17. Andrea Pokorny 09/19/2011 at 8:05 pm #

    Good suggestions… and really not all that difficult to do (just a little time commitment to ensure your identity is safe). Well worth the effort.

    I used to think credit reports were for financial experts to explain and not for regular people. They aren’t that scarey after all and pretty straight forward. …And it’s important to know if there are errors, you can take care of them yourself — don’t hire some guy to do it for $1k+.


  18. SB @ One Cent At A Time 09/19/2011 at 6:50 pm #

    Good list of advice Paul

  19. Paul 09/19/2011 at 7:59 am #

    So true. It is that risky behavior for some college age students that put them at risk for fraud and identity theft. Thanks for your comment!

  20. Investment Management 09/19/2011 at 7:55 am #

    Great insight. Young people often think they are vulnerable to identity theft because they know a lot about technology. The fact is that scammers are becoming more and more sophisticated and just about anyone is at risk. It’s important not to let yourself believe your invincible. That’s when you start making poor decisions that may risk your security.


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