Students especially vulnerable to identify theft, say experts

Sandra Hermiston and Ross McLaughlin, CTV Vancouver

Published Friday, September 29, 2017 3:59PM PDT

Nearly a third of reported identity theft involves credit cards, according to the Federal Trade Commission. And college and university students can be especially vulnerable to this type of crime because they’re not always thinking about their security.

But there are several things you can do to keep your critical information out of the hands of criminals.

That includes using public Wifi networks.

“Criminals love public Wifi because it may not be secure, potentially giving those criminals access to your computer,” explained Bree Fowler, Consumer Reports Electronics editor.

“For things like shopping or banking it’s better to use private Wifi that you access with a password.”

Consider using your phone’s data connection for sensitive transactions. That’s also safer than public Wifi for banking or shopping.

And while you can’t do much about company databases being hacked, you can take steps to limit the damage.

For starters, change your passwords frequently. Check bank and credit card statements for unauthorized charges, and if you can, stick to credit. Many credit cards have zero-liability policies to protect consumers. It can take more time to recover debit card funds since they’re taken directly from your bank.

And finally, don’t overshare on social networks. Posting your birthday or hometown online can make it even easier for fraudsters to steal your identity.

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