College Students at Risk for Identity Theft

JOPLIN, MO.--- During the beginning of the school year, college students pass around a lot of personal information, whether it's at the registrar's office or the bank. College police say students can become a target for identity theft if they aren't checking their accounts frequently.

"Students are out on their own maybe for the first time, and they just don't understand the concepts and the fact that they are vulnerable, and so they just have to be educated," said Ken Kennedy, MSSU Police Chief.

College students are more likely to have multiple accounts saved on their electronic devices. By keeping bank and credit card information automatically saved on a laptop, it can make it easier for someone to hack.

"For example, Facebook and some of those kinds of venues, If they put too much information on there, obviously you just have to go on there and take it," said Chief Kennedy.

Missouri Southern State University staff say a safeguard system is used in order to protect student information while on campus. However, when it comes to a students personal devices, students are encouraged to be aware of identity theft if their items are stolen.

"It's the same safeguards you would hear anywhere. Never give your credit card number to someone you don't know, don't go on an unprotected site and use a credit card number. It's simply being smart about your information and continuing to do that," said Ron Mitchell, MSSU Dean of Students.

Identity theft has become and issue nationally on college campuses. Missouri Southern staff say credit card fraud occurs roughly once a month, which can increase a students chances of becoming a victim of identity theft.

"I've had times where I, there's been mistakes with my bank. And had my information changed on accident, and it's pretty nerve-racking," said Chris Adams, MSSU student.

Authorities offer some advice for students to protect themselves from identity theft, students should have a knowledge of campus privacy policies. Also, be careful with bank account, credit card, and security card numbers. Plus, knowing where devices are at all times is helpful. When giving out private information, ask where it will be stored so you know it's a legitimate source.

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