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Fraud 101: The College Student's Guide to Fraud Protection

Sep 4, 2019, 01:00 AM by Olga Melancon
The College Student's Guide to Fraud Protection

By now, millions of students (perhaps even yourself included) are settling into the college life and the freedoms that come along with it. Curfew? What’s that? Pizza at 2 a.m.? Why not? But, with freedom, comes responsibility and a crash-course in living away from home. While there is plenty to enjoy, unsuspecting college students can easily become targets for fraud. College is full of important educational experiences, but fraud is something you don’t want to learn about the hard way. Stay safe with these tips about how to protect yourself from fraud.

Secure Your Documents

When you’re discovering college life for the first time, it’s easy to let your guard down. With the apparent need for various sensitive documents, including your Social Security card, tax returns and medical records, you’ll need to be sure to safeguard them.

An easy way to do this is a small lockbox or mobile safe to store these documents when they’re not in use.

Don’t Share Devices

If you’re living in close quarters with friends or roommates, it may be convenient (and more cost effective) to share laptops and tablets. However, this may not be the best idea for a couple of reasons.

  • You could potentially be leaving your private login information on a device you don’t own.
  • If other people are using your device, their browser history will be written on your device. Any sites that invite malware or viruses inherently become your problem.

The best advice we can offer here is simply not to share devices, and if you must, use discretion regarding who gets access.

Beware Public Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi campus-wide is a great convenience. But it can also be a big danger. Why you ask? Well, it’s possible that everything you have on public Wi-Fi can be exposed. You might be thinking “so what if someone can access my econ homework?” But that’s not the problem. What about sensitive documents, such as your FAFSA?

Instead, consider using a VPN, or virtual private network when using public Wi-Fi. Not only will you protect your data while you’re on a public network, it could save you a lot of hassle, heartache and money in the long run by safeguarding your information. 

Interested in learning more about how to protect yourself from fraud? Check out our Fraud Protection guide for more tips, answers to common questions, and more.

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