STUDENTS SHOULD WATCH OUT FOR FRAUDSTERS WHEN LIVING IN SHARED ACCOMMODATION
Equifax offers advice to students on reducing the risks of identity fraud
Shared living throws up all kinds of challenges, from who does the washing up, to splitting the bills, but ID fraud is one of the biggest threats says ID fraud expert, Equifax. Students are advised to keep their personal information safe from housemates and anyone who happens to be crashing on the sofa on Friday night.
"The realities of university life means, sadly, student accommodation is an area that provides many opportunities for fraudsters," says Neil Munroe, External Affairs Director for Equifax. "It can take as little as just three pieces of personal information to commit ID fraud. Whether that’s skimming through post in a communal hallway or stealing a phone or laptop left lying around, students need to be aware of the risks.”
It also pays to be aware of the risks of fraud associated with social networking sites and posting any personal information online, including CVs. “Students need to think about the number of people they will be meeting at university who will become Facebook friends and have access to all their information.How well do they really know these 'friends' and trust them not to abuse their personal information?
“Students have even been caught out by posting their CV on fraudulent recruitment websites, only to find that their identity has been stolen using the information provided on their job application for a position that doesn't actually exist,” continues Munroe.
“Key to protecting your identity is don’t leave personal information lying around and think twice about what information you post online or give out."
- If you have a communal hallway, get post sent recorded or delivered to your parents’ address
- Be careful what information you make public on Facebook - a date of birth and personal email or primary school could be enough for a canny fraudster
- Don’t store PINs and passwords on mobiles and laptops, as thieves will be able to use this information to steal your identity
- Password protect all digital devices, including smart phones
- Try not to access online banking and secure sites in internet cafes and make sure you log out of the site rather than just closing the window
- Keep personal documents secure - ideally leave them at home, rather than in a shared house
- Never give your password or PINs to a friend, just in case things go wrong later down the line
- Don’t give out all your personal information on your CV when posting it online or making it available to others - you can always provide more information at a later date
- Check that websites on which you upload personal details have security locks to reduce the risk of them being hacked into
- Redirect mail if you move
- Always check bank statements and credit card statements carefully against receipts
- Make sure you have the latest virus protection that ideally updates hourly
The Equifax Credit Report is accessible for 30 days free simply by logging onto www.equifax.co.uk. If customers do not cancel before the end of the 30 Day Free Trial, the service will continue at £6.99 per month, giving them unlimited online access to their credit information and weekly alerts on any changes to their credit file. It also includes an online dispute facility to help them correct any errors on their credit file simply and quickly.
The Equifax app is available free from the Apple iTunes Store on iPhone and iPad and from Google Play for Androids.
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Equifax is a global leader in consumer, commercial and workforce information solutions, providing businesses of all sizes and consumers with information they can trust. We organize and assimilate data on more than 500 million consumers and 81 million businesses worldwide, and use advanced analytics and proprietary technology to create and deliver customized insights that enrich both the performance of businesses and the lives of consumers.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Equifax operates or has investments in 17 countries and is a member of Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500® Index. Its common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol EFX. For more information, please visit www.equifax.com.