Tips on ways to avoid Identity Theft

Identity theft is growing around the country for College students. Here are some things to think about when it comes to your personal information.

1. Always log off of public and private computers when you walk away from them. Leaving systems logged in allows other people access to your personal file, data and even email.

2. When using Campus Wi-Fi or any Wi-Fi hotspots, be aware that these are not always secure. On most wireless pubic networks, your actions are done in plain text. Others on the network may be able to see what you are doing and where you are going. If you use email or online banking or anything else you want protected, make sure the website or application you are using is encrypted. One way to tell is to look for HTTPS:// in the address bar. You can use secure versions of pop and smtp to send emails.

3. Change your password often and use a strong/complex password.

4. Run an up-to-date Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware program. Viruses and Spyware can log and steal personal information and passwords used on your computers. Download files

5. Credit Card offers seem to come out of the woodwork when you are in college. Make sure you read the fine print on these offers and understand exactly what you are getting.

6. Reveal as little as possible and review your security settings on Social Networking sites. Facebook and MySpace are fun but they can be dangerous. Make sure you only reveal information that future employers and teachers and friends need to see. Also check your security preferences and make sure you are only sharing information with the people you trust. Posting of addresses, birthdays, and phone numbers can make you an easy target.

7. Only shop online with trusted vendors. Verify that the site uses proper encryption to protect your transactions and that they do not sell your information. Look for HTTPS:// in the address bar and look for a privacy statement on their site.

8. Routinely review your credit report. You have a right to receive a free credit check every year. Make use of this.

9. Do not use Peer-to-Peer file sharing programs. You do not know who the files are coming from and what they have done to them. Plus the program may be sharing files on your system without your knowledge or recording you actions on your computer. Peer-to-Peer