ERIE, Pa. (August 20, 2013) - As many college students head back to campus later this month, they need to add "protecting themselves from identity theft" to their to-do list, alongside buying text books and deciding on a meal plan. Every three seconds someone's identity is stolen according to the Javelin Strategy & Research 2012 Identity Theft Report - and college students are increasingly one of the biggest targets of identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission reports college students (ages 20-29) represent the highest percentage of all identity theft complaints.
"There are several reasons why college students are a prime target for identify theft," said Joe Vahey, vice president and product manager at Erie Insurance. "Not only do they usually have pristine credit records but they also are exposed to many situations that can leave them unknowingly vulnerable to becoming an identity theft victim."
With just a few pieces of a college student's personal information, new credit lines can be opened, bank accounts can be drained, fraudulent tax returns can be filed, medical services can be sought and a student's name can even be provided as an alias to police upon an arrest. All of these circumstances can cost thousands of dollars to correct and can even cost new graduates job opportunities as credit and background checks are routinely performed by employers.
Below are 10 tips from Erie Insurance to help prevent college students from becoming identity theft victims:
If you determine that you are the victim of identity theft or notice fraudulent account activity, notify your identity theft coverage provider so they may immediately contact your banking institutions, credit card companies and three major credit bureaus to stop the fraud from perpetuating. If you do not have identity theft coverage, report the suspicious activity to the appropriate institution and request a new account number as well as a fraud alert notice on your account. Placing a fraud alert on your account makes it more difficult for new accounts in your name to be opened. Also order copies of your credit report and notify the appropriate credit bureau in writing of the fraudulent account activity. Additionally, file an identity theft report with the FTC and your local police department.
Visit www.erieinsurance.com/property/IdentityRecovery.aspx for more information about identity theft prevention.
According to A.M. Best Company, Erie Insurance Group, based in Erie, Pennsylvania, is the 15th largest homeowners insurer and 12th largest automobile insurer in the United States based on direct premiums written and the 20th largest property/casualty insurer in the United States based on total lines net premium written. The Group, rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best Company, has nearly 4.5 million policies in force and operates in 11 states and the District of Columbia. Erie Insurance Group is a FORTUNE 500 company. Erie Insurance is proud to be named a J.D. Power and Associates' 2012 Customer Service Champion. ERIE is one of only 50 U.S. companies so named. Erie Insurance is also recognized on the list of Ward's 50 Group of top performing insurance companies, which analyzes the financial performance of 3,000 property and casualty companies and recognizes the top performers for achieving outstanding results in safety, consistency and financial performance over a five-year period (2007-2011).
News releases and more information about Erie Insurance Group are available at www.erieinsurance.com.