August 16, 2016

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Scam Alert: College Students & Identity Theft

Watching your high school senior walk across the graduation stage back in June was hard enough, but now in a matter of weeks, you’re going to have to do something even harder: dropping your son or daughter off at college. You’re probably doing everything possible right now to prepare them for their big foray into the “real world” — showing them how to separate their laundry (and encouraging them to do it regularly), explaining why they must always wear flip flops in the communal bathroom, and making sure they have new extra long twin sheets for their dorm bed.

All of those things are important, but don’t forget to talk to your soon-to-be college freshman about different college student identity theft scams. This will be the first time your son or daughter is out on his or her own and they’re going to be dealing with a lot of new problems, people, and feelings — and that’s what scammers are counting on when they target college students. One good sit-down with your child to talk about identity theft can go a long way in preventing future mishaps.

Scams That Target College Students

Scams can come in all shapes and sizes, but a few different ones are making the rounds currently that college students should be looking out for.

  • Federal student tax scam – Criminals are calling college students and telling them that they owe a federal student tax. This tax, however, doesn’t even exist. The scammer usually says they’re from the IRS, a tax company, or a state revenue department, and pushes the student to wire money immediately.
  • Fake jobs offers – Some scammers post all types of fake jobs, but more common ones involve babysitting, dog walking, and working from home. They will usually either send a student a larger check for “work supplies” that bounces (after the student has withdrawn funds), or ask for bank information to set up a direct deposit. Both scenarios end with criminals walking away with the student’s identity, and sometimes, his or her money.
  • Social media scams – No one uses social media more than young adults and identity thieves know that. They love to create fake profiles on various sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat and then connect with students who have a tendency to overshare. The thieves lurk and wait for the student to share too much personal information, and then gather all the details to steal their identity.
  • Dating scamsMeeting a romantic interest online is becoming more and more common, but some identity thieves pose as on-campus co-eds to lure in unsuspecting students. Your student may think they’re talking to another student at their college, but in reality, it’s an identity thief who will ultimately ask for money and promises to repay them. And they will repay them — in the form of a check that bounces.

You Can’t Watch Your College Student 24/7 — But IdentityForce Can

According to Javelin Strategy and Research, college students take three times longer than any other age group to detect and report identity theft. The average case goes on for 132 days before a victim files a complaint. Do you know how much damage an identity thief can do in over four months?

As you prepare your child for their first year away from home, consider an identity theft protection package from IdentityForce. We’ll monitor his or her personal information, alert them immediately if something looks suspicious, and help them restore their identity if any personal information is stolen. Sign up for a free trial of our identity theft protection services and learn more about how we’ll keep your child safe while they’re away at school.

Judy Leary

President at IdentityForce
For Judy, identity theft protection is in her DNA—her dad started IdentityForce’s parent company in the 70s, and in the 80s, she and her brother came on board. She loves her dedicated team and how much they care about every member, partner, and supplier. In addition to protection against identity theft, Judy is passionate about travel (Aruba is her “happy place”!) and giving back. She volunteers for the Alzheimer’s Association, Mazie Mentoring Program, and Sunshine Golden Retriever Rescue. She’s also a proud mom to 2 grown daughters and 3 rescue dogs.

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