College students more likely to fall victim to identity theft

College students more likely to fall victim to identity theft

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

For many college students, it is the first time being on their own, as well as handling their own finances. 

John Thomas, with Texas Tech's IT Division, said these factors could make students more susceptible to ID theft.

"Now, all that they do on the Internet, or all that they do banking wise is really their own free will or their own choice, and I think scammers understand that," Thomas said.

The Better Business Bureau reports more than 41 percent of students experienced some kind of financial loss due to scams in 2018. These scams include can include credit cards, employment and scholarships.

"You get an email or text that kind of alerts you to something, that you need to, 'act now, act quickly,' and I think students would look at that and go, 'oh, I need to do something with that,' and they may click on something that they're not familiar with, and their username or password may be compromised," Thomas said.

It is something Radha Andrews, a freshman student at Texas Tech, said she is constantly on the lookout for.

"I kind of worry about it quite frequently. You know, there are a lot of things online about like, info getting leaked, so I think it's, it's really important to make sure the things that you're looking up are legit," Andrews said.

Students should be cautious of clicking links or downloading attachments in emails or text messages, Thomas said. They should verify the identity of the sender first.

"If you do get an email that maybe doesn't look familiar to you, or even if it looks like it's from your financial institution, asking you to input your username and password, we recommend just don't do anything with that email, but then go and log in to your financial institution, and if there's an issue with your account, you'll get alerted," Thomas said.

Students should also beware of employment scams, which can consist of jobs offering high pay for low hours.

The Better Business Bureau estimates ID theft costs Americans more than $50 billion each year.

Thomas also advises students to review bank statements for any suspicious purchases, and to review their credit reports.

"A lot of students being young may not have much on their credit report, but that's a great place to look for, if there's an account that's been opened under your name that you're like, 'I don't know what this account is,' then that could trigger you  to think that maybe your identity was stolen," Thomas said.

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