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Back to School ID Theft Tips

Jackie here. Before you know it, school will be back in session (for some of you, it has already happened). Let’s do a quick refresher on ID theft protection for back to school. These tips are perfect for any student, regardless of age.
Limit Use of SSNs
If your school, preschool, or daycare is asking for a SSN, ask why. Often, the number isn’t necessary and another identifier can be used. If it turns out to be necessary, ask how it will be protected. Another option is to simply skip the number when filling out the forms; you may not be asked for it later.
Give the Information Directly to the Source
When filling out forms with sensitive information, do your best to get them directly to their final destination. This can help to limit the number of eyes that see this personal information. Don’t clip your child’s form to a clipboard and pass it along, see the teacher or coach at a later time and turn it in directly.
Teach Your Child About ID Theft
Does your child know the basics of protecting against ID theft? While the information your child needs will vary depending on their age, even youngsters can benefit from a few basics. Send your child off to school prepared with these tips:
Shred– Every college student should have access to a shredder. Send one with your student when they head off to the dorms.
Lock Up Sensitive Paperwork– Your college student may need sensitive paperwork like their Social Security card or birth certificate with them at school (jobs, financial aid, etc.), but they do need to protect them. A small locking safe is a great investment.
Review Bank Statements– Teach your child to check bank statements and how to report fraud should it occur. They should also check their credit report often.
Be Careful When Signing Up for Cards– College students are often faced with their first credit card applications. Before they leave, help them opt-out of prescreened offers. Teach them the importance of using and choosing credit carefully.
Lock Your Phone and Computer– Phones and computers should always have a password
Advocate for Your Child
Child ID theft is a problem, so educate yourself and keep your child safe. This fact sheet from the Identity Theft Resource Center has some valuable tips every parent needs to know.
Help keep your kids safe this school year by talking to them about ID theft.

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