Consumer Alert: Protecting college students from identity theft

A new study finds that college students are three times more likely to be victims of identity theft than the average American.

Donna Rosato with Consumer Reports says that in more than 20 percent of cases, college students do not find out they are the victims of identity theft until they are denied credit or contacted by a debt collector.

"College students really aren't really checking their bank account all the time. They don't actually have a lot of money so they probably aren't thinking about this," she says.

Consumer Reports says there are some ways students can protect their identities on campus.

" Check bank and credit balances frequently

" Don't do sensitive business over unsecure Wi-Fi. Use a virtual private network (VPN) instead.

" Have sensitive physical mail sent to a secure address like a parent's home or P.O. box

" Limit how much information is shared on social media.

" Don't leave sensitive information, such as driver's license or credit cards, lying around

"Be very careful about putting personal information when you're out on social media," says Rosato. "Your mother's maiden name. Don't put your first pet. Those could be passwords."

Experts say college students are four times more likely to have their identity stolen by someone they know because of how many people have access to their belongings.

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