Seven steps for students to secure their ID on campus

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    More than one million post-secondary students made their way back to school in Canada this year*, and students are already facing tests outside of the classroom when it comes to safeguarding their personal information. Between phony scholarships to employment scams and rental schemes, students are exposed to fraud on campus.
    “Identity theft can affect cash-strapped students as much or more than their parents,” says Mary O’Sullivan-Andersen, president and CEO of BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay. “Personal information that falls into the wrong hands can be used to commit illegal activities under an innocent student’s name, or they could find their hard-earned money completely drained from their bank accounts.”

    Be a Savvy Student: Avoid on-campus identity theft with these BBB tips:

    • Only apply to scholarships, bursaries and awards you know and trust. Ensure to seek the assistance of the student financial aid office at your college or university to ensure you are correctly applying for scholarships and other offers, and not dealing with money-hungry swindlers.

    • For job offers, visit the company’s website or LinkedIn page. Doing this can help you verify the business’ legitimacy, find their location, what people have to say about the business and allow you to contact the company directly to ask further questions.

    • Inspect rental ads closely and know your rights. Check the Residential Tenancies Act for information about tenant, landlord and rental agency rights before committing to a rental agreement. Pay attention to poorly written ads, low quality photos and requests for wire money transfers.

    • Have mail sent to a secure location. School mailboxes are not always secure and often can be accessed easily in a dorm or apartment. To combat sticky fingers in the mailroom, have sensitive mail sent to a permanent address, such as a parent’s home or a post office box.

    • Never lend your credit or debit card to anyone, even if they are a friend.

    • Update your devices. Make sure your computer, laptop or tablet has up-to-date antivirus and anti-spyware software.

    • Always check your credit or debit card statements. The sooner you identify any potential fraud, the less you’ll suffer in the long run. Getting your statements online is more secure, but make sure you actually look at the statements.

    *Back to school 2017 quick facts, Universities Canada

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