This post is the first in our “Protecting Your Identity” series. Check back for Part 2 next week.
They say that imitation is the biggest form of flattery. The exception? Identity theft.
We’ve all heard the anecdotal stories, the reports in the news, or maybe you’ve experienced it firsthand (although we hope this is NOT the case). But identity theft is far from anecdotal, it’s very real.
As such, we’ve decided to give you the tools in order to protect yourself and to keep your time as an international student in the US as easy as possible. This post explains a few, simple ways you can secure your personal information while you’re at school.
First things first, make sure your computer is password protected. While this may seem like an easy one, it’s also the most overlooked. After all, nothing can deter a thief faster than not being able to get into your computer. Also, make your password something only YOU would know, and not your birthday or the first four numbers on your keyboard.Don’t let the collared shirt fool you. This guy is up to no good.
Next, make sure your computer automatically locks when you’ve walked away from it. Whether its libraries or dorm rooms, you never know who’s lurking (such as this guy on the right) and this useful feature can help protect your life. Think about what you’d do if someone hacked into your bank account….or worse, your Facebook account.
Finally, check to see if your dorm room has a safe that you can use to store your sensitive personal information. If one isn’t provided at your school, consider shelling out the money to get one. These safes will be a great way to prevent someone from taking your visa, social security number, credit card information, etc. While your roommate may seem like a nice person, identity theft is the one area you need to be skeptical and not optimistic.
It may seem simple, but these three steps are crucial to ensuring that no one plays havoc with your identity. There’s an enormous black market for stolen social security cards and visas, and we don’t want YOU to become another statistic.
Readers, have you ever experienced identity theft? What measures does your school currently have to protect you?