Identity theft is becoming one of the most prevalent crimes in recent years. College students seem to underestimate the possibilities of fallen victims to this white-collar crime. This is because most of them do not realize that thieves are mostly after their personal information and not their money. If you are a college student you need to be aware that you can fall victim to identity theft even if you do not have much money.

The goal of a person wanting to steal someone’s identity is to take advantage of those with good credit ratings and use that credit to get money or goods by pretending to be the person they stole the information from. College students are ideal candidates for this crime because they usually have clean records and a thief can build upon that and get what they want.

All a thief needs to take advantage of a person’s credit is some very easily accessible personal information. This information could be social security number, date of birth, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, name, and address. A thief could use one or all of these against their potential victim. This crime can ruin a person’s life by worsening chances of job opportunities, chances of getting loans, giving the victim a bad credit rating and even messing up their criminal record.

Fortunately, there are things that you, the college student, can do to help protect yourself from this crime. The first place to start is to make all of your personal information inaccessible to anyone who could possibly use it against you. You should keep all of your important and personal documents in a place that is locked and protected. These documents include, but are not limited to, you social security card, birth certificate, bank statements and credit card statements.

You should try to keep your valuables hidden and not let anyone know where they are including your roommates. This may be hard but it could save you money and keep you from having to go through a very stressful situation. It is a fact that most college students whom fall prey to this crime know the person who stole their identities. This is sad but very true and you should always remember that you cannot trust everyone and sometimes even the people you do trust can hurt you.

You should always destroy anything that has personal information about you on it that you plan on throwing away. You can do this by shredding or burning things like old bank statements and credit card offers. If you do not have access or a way to burn this information, a shredder is a very good investment. If you do however, have a way to burn the information that would be the best way to make sure no one ever has access to it.

When you are using the Internet, make sure that you always have a secure connection and you always have your firewall on to prevent hackers from getting into your computer and stealing your information. Educate yourself about identity theft scams and monitor your credit to avoid a potential identity theft nightmare.