Here’s the YouTube Video I did on 10 cyber-security tips to keep college students safe from identity theft . Please watch and share!
Now here’s the script:
It’s a fact that college students are very vulnerable to identity theft. Why? Well, it’s because students have an illusion of safety while living on campus AND a lack of knowledge about how cyber criminals work.
Here are 10 ways to keep your identity AND your wallet safe while you are earning your degree.
Number one: Don’t carry your checkbook or social security card in your purse or backpack. Keep them in a secret place in your dorm room and be sure to always lock your door!
Number two: Don’t use public wifi for anything financial like banking or paying for on-line purchases. If you can’t use secure wifi, use your data plan instead.
Number three: Keep your computer, tablet and phone locked with a password or a biometric key like a thumbprint.
Number four: Cut up or shred any pre-approved credit card offers or un-needed financial papers.
Number five: Avoid plugging into USB charging stations in public places. Identity thieves can alter these outlets with spyware to see everything you type, like user names and passwords. Small, affordable back-up batteries are a safer option for re-charging.
Number Six: Update the virus protection on your computer regularly, and be sure to use strong passwords.
Number Seven: Learn to recognize email phishing scams from internet thieves pretending to be your bank, credit card company, or even your school. Thieves have learned to create very convincing fake emails, right down to the artwork. Never click on links in emails that seem to be from your financial institutions. Always go right to their websites to confirm the information you saw in the email.
Number Eight: Use caution when using debit cards. New chip and pin debit cards are available, but many stores do not have chip readers at their check-out counters. This means that the new debit cards will still have the old-style easy-to-hack magnetic strips on the back for quite a while. So, be aware that you at most danger of having your personal information stolen when you are told to swipe your debit card and enter your pin.
For years hackers have been compromising check-out security by installing nearly invisible magnetic card readers and tiny cameras around pin pads to see what numbers you press. Armed with your PIN and the information on your card’s magnetic strip, thieves can easily make enough purchases to empty your whole bank account. Some security experts advise covering your typing hand with your other hand to keep the spy camera from seeing your fingers on the number pad.
Since debit card security may be weak for some years to come, you’ll want to get a real credit card as soon as you turn 21 and are still a full-time student. Real credit cards have strong consumer protections built in and are NOT linked directly to your bank account. Make sure to always pay off your new credit card in full each month.
Number Nine: Carefully examine your credit card and bank statements. Report discrepancies immediately.
Number Ten: After getting your first real credit card, you should access the most effective way to keep thieves from hurting you financially, even if they have stolen your personal information.
Here’s how: The three big credit bureaus that report on your credit-worthiness to potential lenders or employers, will allow you to lock up or “freeze” your credit records.
With these records frozen, identity thieves cannot steal money from you by opening new credit in your name. Freezing costs from $3-10 dollars at each bureau and only takes about 15 minutes of your time. Even when your credit is frozen, you can use your credit card just as you do normally.
You can temporarily thaw your credit whenever you need to provide access to employers or to take out a new loan. I hope this list will help you stay cyber-safe on campus and even in your life after college. Be careful out there!