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BBB Release: College-Age Students Take Longer To Detect ID Theft

Anchorage, Alaska – Sept. 22, 2010 – Many young adults do not learn about preventing or discovering identity theft until they become victims, Better Business Bureau warns.

According to the 2010 Identity Fraud Survey Report from Javelin Strategy and Research, young adults ages 18 to 24 took the longest to detect identity theft—132 days on average—when compared to other age groups. Subsequently, the average cost was $1,156—roughly five times more than amounts lost by other age groups.

Because college-age students are so susceptible to identity theft, BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington recommends these ID theft prevention steps:

1. Avoid unsecure campus mailboxes. If mail can be accessed by others, have sensitive mail sent to a safer address—such as a parents’ home—or invest in a post office box.

2. Lock up important documents. Use a locking filing cabinet, safe or lock box for: Social Security cards, passports, checks and financial statements.

3. Never loan credit or debit cards. Go with a friend who needs a meal or gas. Avoid cosigning for loans or financing expensive items like TVs, computers or furniture.

4. Protect Social Security numbers. Don’t carry Social Security cards in wallets or purses. Ask to leave this number off student ID cards and other identification.

5. Keep computer software up-to-date. While many colleges have Wi-Fi available, it can be susceptible to hackers. Download antivirus and spyware software updates on a regular basis to keep personal documents and information safe. Never use a shared computer workstation to log into bank accounts, pay bills or shop online.

6. Safely social network. Do not divulge personal information, phone numbers and addresses on social networking sites. Review privacy settings.

7. Review financial statements frequently. Look for suspicious activity and purchases.

8. Get a credit report yearly. Use www.AnnualCreditReport.com to request a free report and look for inaccuracies.

9. Research businesses before shopping online. Visit www.bbb.org for free BBB Reliability Reports.

10. Shred personal documents before throwing them away. Shred unwanted credit card offers and financial documents. Check www.alaska.bbb.org/secure-your-id to find out about BBB's free Secure Your ID Day in Anchorage. Shred Alaska will shred up to three file boxes or grocery bags of paper per person.

Saturday, Oct. 23: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Wells Fargo, Northern Lights & C Street Store, 301 W Northern Lights Blvd., Anchorage

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About your BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington:
Your Better Business Bureau is a not-for-profit organization funded by Better Business Bureau Accredited Businesses. The BBB’s mission is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. For more information about the services and products provided by your BBB, call 206-431-2222 or 253-830-2924 in Washington, 503-212-3022 in Oregon, 907-562-0704 in Alaska, or visit our website at www.bbb.org.

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