Identity Theft Against Students

Florida state lawmakers in both the Florida House and Senate hope to keep students’ identities safer by presenting bills that limit the times the students present their Social Security numbers.

Students at Florida State University say without their Social Security number, they aren't able to perform simple duties on campus. Because of the frequent use of their social, the possibility of identity theft is an issue.

"Identity theft is through your Social Security, when you take tests, you have to use your Social Security, when getting grades, you have to use your social, and on the Internet, you can get anything,” comments FSU student Shane McGinley.

Bills currently before the Florida House and Senate would help curb the times students are required to use their personal number.

But some students actually prefer to use their social, as opposed to memorizing various pin numbers.

"I don't mind using mind using my social at all, identity theft isn't that big around here,” FSU student David Petracca says.

The Federal Trade Commission reports that in 2002, Florida ranked sixth in the nation for identity theft, with more than 10,000 reported victims.

"It's such a valuable piece of information, if it gets in the wrong hands, somebody could use it for something that you don't want them to use it for,” adds student Marsharo Naimo.

The FTC reports that close to 10 million Americans were victims of identity theft in 2002. Extended Web Coverage

ID Theft

  • Identity theft is a crime in which the imposter obtains key pieces of information such as Social Security and driver's license numbers to obtain credit, merchandise and services in the name of the victim.

  • The victim is left with a ruined credit history and the time-consuming and complicated task of regaining financial health.

  • It is a dual crime, committed against an individual whose name and good credit history was ruined and against businesses who lost cash and merchandise.

Prevention Tips

  • Carefully destroy papers you don't need, especially those with sensitive or identifying information. Buy and use a good, cross-cut paper shredder.

  • Guard your Social Security Number. Don't carry your social security card with you. That also includes any cards or badges that may include this number on it. Resist giving it out unless necessary. Don't put SSN on checks.

  • Check all three of your credit reports once a year. This is one of the best ways to find out if someone is using your information without your knowledge. In most cases it will cost about $8 for each report unless you are a victim of financial crime or turned down for a job or credit due to your credit report.

    TransUnion: 800-888-4213 (fraud div.- 800-680-7289)
    Experian: 888-EXPERIAN (fraud div.- 888-397-3742)
    Equifax: 800- 685-1111 (fraud div.- 800-525-6285)

  • Block your name from marketing lists- 888-5OPTOUT. This is cut down on the number of pre-approved credit card offers you receive.

  • Guard your personal information. Carry as little as possible in your wallet. Get credit cards with your picture on them. Be alert to shoulder surfers listening for information. Cancel any credit cards you no longer use. That means contacting the company, not just cutting up the card. Keep confidential information in a locked area.

  • Be suspicious of telephone solicitors. Never give out information unless you have initiated the call. You should never need to give a social security number to a sales clerk.

  • Watch what happens to your credit card when you give it to a clerk. The instances of double skimming are on the rise. Double skimming occurs when the clerk not only charges you for your purchase but also runs your card through a computer scanner. Later this information is downloaded on a counterfeit card and used by imposters.

  • Demand that the businesses you frequent take good care of your information and find out how they protect you from ID theft.

Source: (Identity Theft Resource Center Web site) contributed to this report.