Credit Information and Personal Finance Resources | Credit One Bank

Credit One CentralTM

Explore ways to manage your credit and finances with Credit One Central. These informational articles and resources can help guide you in your everyday life.

Protecting Against Identity Theft During College

Protecting Against Identity Theft During College

Going to college should ideally be a time of discovery, learning, and new experiences. Unfortunately, identity thieves may view your college years as a prime time to go after your personal information in order to make fraudulent purchases or open unauthorized accounts. And discovering an unauthorized credit card on your credit report, learning your personal information has been compromised, and experiencing identity theft firsthand is not a situation any college student should have to go through.

A Javelin Identity Fraud study revealed college students as the demographic segment least likely to be concerned about fraud. This lackadaisical attitude toward fraud may explain why the same study found college students were four times more likely to become victims of familiar fraud—fraud using your information committed by someone you know.

Here are eight steps college students can take to help avoid the unpleasant lesson of dealing with identity theft while pursuing higher education.

1. Be Stingy with Your Social Security Number

A Social Security number (SSN) is like the Holy Grail to identity thieves because it’s required to open just about any kind of account and is typically harder to obtain than, say, a birth date or driver’s license number. So you’ll want to store your Social Security card somewhere safe—not carry it around in your wallet or purse with your credit cards and your driver’s license—and you want to be very careful about when and where you give the number out.

While an SSN is required on certain forms like tax returns or applications for a student loan, you legally do not have to disclose it on dental or doctor forms just because a medical office asks for it—unless you are a Medicare or Medicaid recipient. So, if an entity asks you for this valuable piece of information, push back and ask them why they need it. If they don’t have a good reason but still insist on having it, consider how badly you want or need the service or goods they’re offering before providing your SSN.

2. Don’t Get Too Personal on Social Media

Social media sites are fertile hunting grounds for identity thieves. Posting personal information, such as your date of birth or your mother’s maiden name, provides identity thieves with valuable data they may be able to use to open fraudulent accounts in your name.

Don’t post your schedule for all to see either. Announcing to the world when you’ll be in class or which winter weekend you and your roommate will be in the mountains shredding the slopes on your snowboards lets thieves—both classic and identity types—know when an opportune time to break into your room and steal your possessions or personal information might be.

3. Start Shredding

No, not like in the just-mentioned snowboarding weekend scenario, but as in shredding any documents containing sensitive information. Dumpster diving is a gold mine for identity thieves, so do your part to make sure all they find in your dumpster are empty soda cans, greasy pizza boxes, and other meaningless student trash they can’t use to commit fraud.

4. Adopt a Closed-Door Policy

If you’re away at school and living in a dormitory, fraternity, or sorority, it can be easy to forget to lock your room door before heading off to class. You may also enjoy having your new college friends drop by to socialize, so you leave your door unlocked to be more hospitable.

Put that lock on your door to work. A thief, including one posing as a “friend,” can’t get to your computer or phone or personal information if they can’t get into your room. So lock the door behind you and make sure your roommates do the same. Also make sure you securely stow your valuables and any personal information when you’re not in the room.

5. Exercise Control Over Your Computer (and Phone)

Should your computer or smartphone ever be stolen or compromised, you don’t want an identity thief to have the proverbial keys to your kingdom. One way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to password protect them with a strong password. So don’t make it “1-2-3-4” or your birthday or your girlfriend’s name or anything else someone who knows a bit about you might easily guess.

Also, make sure your hard drive isn’t loaded with sensitive information, such as a tax return or any other forms containing your SSN, driver’s license number, etc. Delete this type of information regularly, and avoid emailing it, as it will still show up in your emails even if you’ve deleted it off your hard drive. It’s important to use strong, unique passwords for your email and other accounts as well. And never use the same password for more than one account.

6. Be Wary of Public WiFi

It doesn’t matter how securely you store information on your phone or computer if you’re sending it over an unsecured public network, which fraudsters may be able to access. So, if you’re tempted to send sensitive information over the free unsecured WiFi network at the local coffee shop or student union building, don’t. Wait until you have access to a secure, password-protected network. If public WiFi is your only option, follow these steps for a safer online experience.

7. Don’t Take the Bait from Phishers

College is a time to be open to exploring new things and ideas, but a healthy dose of skepticism could help you avoid getting scammed by phishing and spoofing emails. A Webroot survey revealed that college students may also be the most vulnerable group when it comes to attacks from ransomware, which can hijack your phone or computer.

If you receive a suspicious email asking you for personal information via email, phone, or a suspect website, it may be a phishing or spoofing attempt. This infographic outlines several steps you can take to avoid getting hooked by phishing scams.

8. Study Your Statements—and Reports

Don’t just pore over textbooks while in college—carefully scrutinize your account statements as well for signs of fraudulent activity. Study your credit reports as well in order to detect any unauthorized accounts opened in your name. By federal law, you are entitled to a free copy of each of your credit reports—you have three: Experian®, Equifax®, and TransUnion®—annually. Be sure to check all three, as any fraudulent activity may not show up on all of them. You can order your free credit reports by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com.

The college years can be some of the most memorable ones of your life. By exercising a little common sense and following the above tips, you can do your part to hopefully prevent identity theft from becoming one of those enduring memories.


 

« Return
This material is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of a qualified tax advisor, attorney or financial advisor. Readers should consult with their own tax advisor, attorney or financial advisor with regard to their personal situations.
Credit One Bank Testimonials

Customer Testimonials & Success Stories

Looking to reach your financial goals? See how Credit One Bank helps people purchase a house or car, handle emergencies and build their credit.

Read More

See If You Pre-Qualify Today

With a Credit One Bank Platinum Visa®, you'll earn 1% cash back on eligible purchases, terms apply, and receive many benefits like free online access to your credit score and $0 Fraud Liability.

In less than 60 seconds, find the card that's right for you!



Credit One Bank Credit Card

 Terms of Use 

Credit One Bank maintains our various websites (hereinafter referred to as "website") as a service to our customers and visitors in order to provide information about products and services and to facilitate communication with us. We require that all customers and visitors to our website adhere to these Terms of Use. By accessing our website and any of its pages, you indicate your acknowledgement and acceptance of the Terms of Use set forth herein without limitation or qualification. We may revise the Terms of Use at any time by updating this posting. You should therefore visit this posting to review the Terms of Use from time-to-time as you visit the website. For the purposes of these Terms of Use, references to Credit One Bank include its affiliates, directors and employees.

COPYRIGHT - The information and materials contained in the website, including but not limited to text and images herein (excluding certain images licensed from third parties) and their arrangement are © Copyright 2015 by Credit One Bank. The information and materials contained in the website may not be copied, displayed, distributed, licensed, modified, published, sold, used to create derivative work or otherwise used for public or commercial purposes without the express written permission of Credit One Bank.

LIMITATION OF LIABILITY - We use our best efforts to include accurate and up-to-date information and materials on the website, however, information and materials on the website are provided "as is" without any warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose and non-infringement. Furthermore, we make no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of the information. The information and materials on the website may include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. From time-to-time we may amend, change, add, delete, update or alter the information and/or materials contained in the website, including information regarding the products and services described or offered on the website, without notice. We assume no liability for any errors or omissions in the information or materials contained within the website and expressly disclaim any responsibility to update the information or materials contained within the website. By using the website, you acknowledge that we specifically disclaim any liability for any direct, indirect, special, unsolicited or consequential damages, losses or expenses arising out of your access to or use of the website, even if we have been advised of the possibility of such damages, including liability associated with any viruses or software which may impact a user's equipment.

GOVERNING LAW - You agree that your use of the website shall be governed by all applicable Federal laws and the law of the state of Nevada.

INFORMATION SUBMISSIONS - All information and materials (including but not limited to feedback data, documents, questions, comments, and suggestions) you submit to us via the website or email shall be deemed to be the property of Credit One Bank and may be used by us in a manner consistent with our Privacy Policy. We shall be free to reproduce, use, disclose, exhibit, display, transform, create derivative works and distribute this information and materials to others without limitation. Furthermore, we shall be free to use any ideas, concepts, know-how or techniques contained in such information or materials for any purpose whatsoever, including but not limited to developing, manufacturing and marketing purposes. Application information submitted to us shall be treated confidentially to the extent required by applicable law or as disclosed in the application and/or supporting materials.

ADVERTISING DISCLOSURE AND LINKS TO OTHER WEBSITES - We do not provide, endorse, nor guarantee any third-party product, service, information, or recommendation available through links from this website. The third parties providing products and services available through this website are not affiliated with us and are solely responsible for their products, services, information, recommendations, and all other content on their websites. We shall not be held liable for any third party's failure with regard to such advertised products, services, and benefits. Many of these advertised products and services are not FDIC insured, nor bank guaranteed. By responding to offers advertised on this website, you may be communicating information about yourself to the company that provides such product or services - for example, that you are a Credit One Bank customer. Please be aware that these third parties may have a different privacy policy than ours. Their website(s) may also provide less security than ours. We encourage you to check individual offers, products, and services to become familiar with any applicable restrictions or conditions.

×
 Security & Fraud  

We are committed to protecting the security of your personal information. We list some activities below that we perform in order to safeguard your data and some tips that you can follow to protect your security.

What We Do:

  • We employ industry-proven standards and technologies to protect information in our computing environment.
  • We protect our systems and networks from the Internet with Firewall systems.
  • We use 128-bit SSL encryption technology to protect sensitive information that is transmitted over the Internet.
  • We maintain a Global Digital Certificate signed by Verisign® that assures you are, in fact, communicating directly with Credit One Bank.
  • We control access to your information inside our company by limiting employee access to systems and data.

What You Should Do:

  • Protect your Username and Password. Avoid choosing easily guessed words or numbers. Avoid writing your Sign In information in a place where others can view it.
  • Use the "Sign Out" button to Sign Out from Online Account Access upon completion of your session and close your browser.
  • Do not use email for account-specific questions. Email is not normally encrypted and your account information could be intercepted.
  • Review your statement information regularly for unauthorized transactions.

Alerts Regarding Phishing and Web-Spoofing:

  • Phishing is an Internet scam (spoof) in the form of an email or pop-up box. The emails and pop-ups link to sites that look like well-known legitimate businesses and ask you to provide and confirm personal, financial, or password information.
  • Legitimate businesses do not ask for this information unless you initiate a request for a service. Please DO NOT RESPOND to these emails requesting personal identity, accounts or password information.
  • Scam emails often contain misspelled words, poor grammar, awkward or unprofessional writing and typos.
  • Be suspicious of urgent or alarming appeals that request security information.

Fraud Alerts:

  • Credit One Fraud Alerts messages are provided to you at no cost. You will not be charged for alerts received.
  • Message frequency varies, as they are only sent when there is suspicion of fraud.
  • Mobile carriers are not liable for delayed or undelivered messages.
  • For help send HELP to 89283.
  • Send STOP to 89283 to end future fraud alert messages.
  • For support contact us at 1-877-825-3242.

To learn other ways to avoid email scams and deal with deceptive spam visit the Federal Trade Commission site at www.ftc.gov/spam

×

You are leaving CreditOneBank.com

If you the 'Continue' button, you will be directed to a third-party website unaffiliated with Credit One Bank, which may offer a different privacy policy and level of security. Credit One Bank is not responsible or liable for, and does not endorse or guarantee, any products, services, information or recommendations that are offered or expressed on other websites.

the 'Return to CreditOneBank.com' button to return to the previous page or 'Continue' to proceed to the third-party website.

Return to CreditOneBank.com Continue