(photo from flickr user rosengrant)
Over the past few years, College Parents of America has repeatedly expressed its concern for the safety of college student identity and data. We’re not alone–even the Department of Education has a page on its website about the risk of identity theft for college students.
Recent data continues to bolster the case for this concern. Simply put, the risk of identity theft exists, and those who are college age may have a particular risk.
Here are a few key data points concerning identity theft and college students (or those who are in the age range of ‘typical’ college students):
- Javelin Strategy & Research 2013 Identity Theft Report “found 12.6 million victims of identity fraud in the United States in  which equates to 1 victim every 3 seconds.” (WSJ)
- According to the FTC, the age group 20-29 logs the highest complaints. Since both the median college age and the majority of college students fall into that age range, it’s likely that college students are facing significant identity theft risk.
- “More than 1.5 million consumers were victims of familiar fraud, which is fraud when victims know the fraudster.” (WSJ)
- “In 2012 identity fraud incidents increased by more than one million victims and fraudsters stole more than $21 billion, the highest amount since 2009.” (WSJ)
- In 2012, “almost 1 in 4 consumers that received a data breach letter became a victim of identity fraud, which is the highest rate since 2010.” (WSJ)
- “18 to 24 Year Olds are Slowest to Detect Fraud – Millennials (consumers aged 18 to 24 years old) take nearly twice as many days to detect fraud, compared to other age groups, and thus are fraud victims for longer periods of time.” (Javelin 2009)
- Millennials were found to be the least likely group to monitor accounts regularly and take advantage of monitoring programs offered by financial institutions. (Javelin 2009)
- 74% of parents “believe students are at moderate-to-high risk for identity theft.” (Rober Siciliano/Uni-ball)
- 89% of parents talk about identity theft and other safety issues with their college student… (Protect Your ID Now/Uni-ball)
- …but students still don’t take adequate precautions. 40 percent of students said they provide their social security numbers online, 9 percent share online passwords, and 7 percent say they take no safety precautions at all. (Protect Your ID Now/Uni-ball)
want more information? check out our identity theft education page.
How should one deal with the threat of identity theft? Sadly, it’s unlikely one can become identity-theft-proof, but it’s quite possible to become identity theft resistant. Here are a few of our favorite suggestions.
First, the FTC has a great set of methods to secure one’s data and identity.
Secondly, the Department of Education has a list of tips for college students to protect against identity theft.
If you’ve already become a victim of identity theft, you’ll need to know what to do right away.
You’ll also need to know what additional steps to take. Again, the FTC’s got you covered.
Lastly, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners suggests consideration of identity theft insurance. While it doesn’t protect against identity theft or insurance against losses, identity theft insurance helps cover “the cost of reclaiming your or your student’s financial identity.” Considering how long the reclamation process can be (for 20% of victims, it takes more than a month, according to this Bureau of Justice Studies Special Report), this may provide some welcome relief for victims.