Tucson's Most Wanted: ID theft on campus - Tucson News Now

Tucson's Most Wanted: ID theft on campus

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Identity theft is a major problem across the United States, especially among young people. Last year the highest concentration of victims were between the ages of 18 and 24. That means students at the University of Arizona are most definitely at risk.

"That's a scary thought," says UA freshman Kelsey Robeson.  "That could happen to me."

"I've had weird charges that I've had to get removed," says Rachel Harris, a UA graduate student.  "I hate even thinking about it." 

"I'm about to go spend money right now with my debit card," Robeson adds. "And I don't want that to happen to me."

Sadly it is happening to college-aged students more so than any other group in this country.

More than 20 percent of all cases reported last year were filed by young adults.

What's worse is, people in this age group fail to recognize they've been victimized.

It takes the average college-aged victim four and half months to realize her identity's been stolen.

"I can see how easily that's happening because kids my age are so careless with their money," Robeson says.

"People probably just assume that they're not paying attention, which means you can get away with it longer before someone's gonna notice," Harris says.

That's where some old fashioned common sense can really help.

Because college is usually the first time students are off on their own, an identity theft discussion is a part of UA's orientation program.

"It's a big concern on campus, especially for the new and incoming freshman that we have," says Sgt. Filbert Barrera of the UA Police Dept. "Giving them tips, making sure they don't give out their personal information, making sure they keep their credit cards secure, their debit cards."

And also reminding students to check all bank and credit card statements regularly.

Getting your identity stolen is bad enough.

But having it stolen and not knowing about it for months, even years can cripple a student financially for years to come.

"As soon as they know there's possibly a crime, what we'd like them to do is notify us and also notify their bank so we can put a stop on the credit card, put a stop on some checks that maybe they lost if they're still using checks. And just let us know so we can try to figure out exactly what's going on," Barrera says.

In addition, school mailboxes are not always secure which is why sensitive mail should be sent to a permanent address such as the parents home.

If you need those sensitive documents make sure they're stored in a filing cabinet with a lock and key.

And when you're finally done with them be sure to shred all those statements containing sensitive information rather than just throwing them away.

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