FTC Says College Students at Risk for Identity Theft

In a recent article, the Better Business Bureau warns college students about potential identity theft scams. Identity thieves target students because they usually have clean credit reports and often do not check their credit reports for errors. Young students may not understand the sensitivity of their personal identifying information.  Students who do not protect their personal identifying information and leave it in plain site, are at risk for identity theft, especially from their roommates. 

According to the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book for 2019, federal student loan fraud increased by 188%.  Private student loan fraud also increased by 74%. FTC records also show that people ages 20-29 lost money to fraud more frequently than older consumers, with a median loss of $448. 

The Better Business Bureau recommends students to take the following steps to combat ID theft:

  • Use your permanent address for mail, rather than your school mailbox 
  • Store important documents, such as your Social Security card and Passport under lock and key 
  • Never let anyone use your credit or debit cards
  • Make sure your laptop and tablet have antivirus and antispyware software and that the software is up to date
  • Regularly review your debit and credit cards statements for unauthorized charges
  • Be cautious when shopping online and do not save your card information on the website
  • Check your credit reports regularly at Equifax, Experian and Trans Union

How Do I Get My Credit Reports?

The Fair Credit reporting Act (“FCRA”) requires the three nationwide consumer reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union, to create a “centralized source” for consumers to request credit a report from all three bureaus.  Download the Annual Credit Report Request Form to request your free annual credit report from Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union. Equifax, Experian and Trans Union are offering free credit reports every week until April 2021.

What Should I Do If I Find Errors on My Credit Reports?

You should dispute credit report errors to the credit reporting agencies. Your dispute should be made in writing and should be sent certified mail return receipt requested. You should send the credit bureaus copies of any documents that support your dispute, such as proof of payment, bankruptcy order, fraud affidavit, etc. Click here for a free Sample Credit Report Dispute Letter.

Are you a victim of identity theft? Have student loans been opened in your name?

Do you have fraudulent items on your credit or background report? Have you disputed the false information and the credit bureaus verified the false information is being reported correctly about you?

The Adkins Firm represents identity theft victims and consumers who have errors on credit, employment background or tenant screening reports.  We represent clients in federal court all over the U.S., and we may be able to help you, too.  

Click here to schedule a free case review. Remember, it’s your credit report!