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Guest Post by Chloe Bennet
College students may not realize how at risk they are of identity theft. As young adults, they are required to handle things like their bank account, social security, housing, leases, credit, and all parts of modern adult life which would have previously been under the supervision of their parents. That bridge between carefree youth and responsible adulthood is tricky to handle. College students are usually very busy and are constantly being confronted by the more practical realities of living apart from their families, like knowing when to take the trash out and how to fold laundry.
Most college students know little about the danger of cyberattacks and other areas in which they might be vulnerable to attacks from ill-intentioned operatives. Let’s take a look at six ways to prevent this threat from becoming a reality for college students.
Monitor public Wi-Fi and public computer usage
It may seem harmless, but online shopping from a computer in your school’s computer hubs can lead to disaster. “Campus computers, but particularly campus open Wi-Fi, are full of holes and vulnerabilities to all sorts of potential outside attacks like viruses and fraud,” warns Jane Harper, teacher at BoomEssays and EssayRoo. “Limiting how often you are on those networks and what you do while on them goes a long way to negating the threat.” Keep an eye on what you enter online, like passport details, social security number, and billing information.
Protect your email
College students usually have email inboxes packed with reminders about work or notifications about events. They are also usually hosted on large email servers. Most universities will have invested in some sort of security filter for the inboxes, but dodgy emails can still make it through. School emails are a rich target for a potential email scammer, with so many different people on the same server and an ability to play into the natural chaos of the students’ inbox.
Secure your room
Colleges usually go to pretty good lengths to ensure building and room security in residential areas of the school. But that’s not always enough. “Investing in some sort of safe for really important documents and materials can be a great idea. Even better, just leave the crucial stuff at home,” advises Marian Hatchett, teacher at UkWritings and Paper Writing Service. Dorm rooms might stop outsider access, but it can be really easy for other students to go where they like.
Don’t blindly trust your roommates
This isn’t to suggest that you are living with a criminal; it’s a subtler issue. All this advice on how to secure yourself and your possessions is in vain if you let your roommate do things like borrow your card or have access to your social security number. Your roommate will likely be much less concerned for the security of your things and your identity than you are. So, go easy with the oversharing.
Beware of social media
It is truly amazing what you can learn about someone on the internet these days. “Social media can give you the illusion of being wrapped in a warm safety blanket. All of your friends around you all commenting and sharing each other’s updates. In truth, social media can give people who have no place having it, an unprecedented access to your life”, advises James Tog, a teacher at Academized and PaperFellows. It’s possible for outsiders to pick up on things as intimate as the location of your room, what your weekly schedule is and other specifics which can easily lead to a breach of security.
In theory, this one should be easier for college students, with most of their costs being beer and a few slices of pizza. But, in the modern age, even college kids have an abundance of credit and debit cards, which introduce new and unprecedented levels of security threat. If you stick as much as possible to cash, you can minimize how many cards you have and more easily keep track of the payments you do make via card. Losing cash is a bummer naturally, but at least your identity won’t go out the window with it.
Chloe Bennet is an academic writer at Big Assignments and AustralianHelp services. She writes about college life, helps to protect student identity and reviews security hacks. Also, Chloe is a tutor at OX Essays website.