Tag Archives: credit freeze

Use these tips while you live on campus and even after you transition to the world of work!

10 Cyber-Security Tips to Keep College Students Safe from Identity Theft

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!

College is a good time to establish good credit.

Build Good Credit While in College

Yes! College students CAN build good credit histories and scores while in college!

Check out my YouTube Video first. More info below!

You might think that college students can’t get credit during the traditional four years of college after high school. And therefore, can’t build any credit record at all! Fortunately, there are strategic ways to work around the obstacles and graduate with a healthy credit history and a good credit score.

Parents can be a huge help to their students by teaching them about how credit works in the larger financial picture of a lifetime. Saving for the future and using money wisely in the present can improve one’s ability to borrow money for important purchases like a car, a house or an education. Lending companies need to know that a borrower will pay back the loans in a timely fashion.

After explaining how credit works, parents can help their college student by allowing him or her to ride on the parent’s credit coattails. This may involve co-signing for the student’s first car loan or by allowing the student to be an “authorized user” of a parent’s credit card. Both these credit building techniques involve a “trust and verify” relationship between the parent and the student. By this I mean that the parent must actively monitor the use of credit in each case.

Co-signing for a teenager’s car loan is the same as if the parent bought the car, because the parent stands to have his or her credit severely damaged if the student does not make timely payments. So “trust and verify” may mean parents must check each month that the payment has been made. Yes, a lot of trouble but a meaningful lesson in adult-style responsibility for a college student.

When a parent allows their college student to be an authorized user on a parent credit card there must be an agreement that each purchase must be cleared with the parent in advance. Alternately, there might be a budget for small purchases and only purchases outside of the budget would need to be cleared. Lots of ways to handle “trust and verify” for authorized users.

Another important method to build good credit history is the management of student loan interest that accrues during college. In the case of Federal Unsubsidized student loans, interest starts accruing from the day the loan is disbursed. Most undergrads who borrow for their college education will take out this kind of loan. They can choose to allow the interest to accrue all during college and through the six month grace period after graduation. The day that repayment must start, the accrued interest will be capitalized and added to the total loan amount. Most students allow this capitalization to take place, but smart parents will encourage their students to take this valuable opportunity to build a stellar credit history by paying the accruing interest off monthly as soon as the loan is disbursed. Making the interest payments in a timely fashion will not only look good to the credit bureaus, but will help the student make a seamless transition to actual loan repayment after graduation.

Parents can help their student access his or her credit report from the three big credit reporting agencies for free once a year from AnnualCreditReport.com. Actual credit scores are offered through the credit reporting companies for a small fee. A student can watch how his or her credit score grows each year when credit is properly managed. Ultimately, the parent should help their responsible student take advantage of current law that allows students to get their very own credit cards as soon as they turn 21 and are still in college. After the student has one or two credit cards and understands how responsible use of credit cards can actually build an even better credit record, parents can and should help their student freeze his or her credit at each of the reporting agencies. Freezing credit can greatly reduce damage from identity theft. Frozen credit can be thawed very quickly when it comes time to get a car loan or even to get a mortgage for a house. Credit checks by potential employers and landlords can also be done through credit thawing.

Here are some good links: