Published on August 26th, 2014 | by Sally Wenham

Back To Uni – Tips To Protect Yourself From ID Theft

September is quickly approaching and that signals the beginning of thousands of students’ journey through university. Here at the Post Office Shop, we have some tips to help students (or anyone for that matter) prevent ID theft.

Generation Y as people of this age are known, are the most digitally involved generation. They are active on multiple social media platforms and very rarely seen without a tech gadget close by. However, this makes them incredibly open to targeting by cyber criminals.

The first recommendation we would make is to change email and social media passwords every month or so. By getting into the habit of changing passwords regularly, hackers will find it more difficult to obtain important personal information.

Another thing to consider is limiting the information that is posted to social media. Disclosing items such as addresses, mobile telephone numbers and locations will increase the risk of ID theft. By no means are we saying that check-ins can’t be made now and again, but keep them limited.

As much as this may seem like common sense, don’t accept friend requests from unfamiliar social media users. Unless they’re a friend or a mutual acquaintance it’s better to air on the side of caution. On a similar note, don’t accept a duplicate request from a friend unless you know it’s genuine. Due to the accessibility of the internet, hackers can simply copy users’ photos and personal information to create a fake profile.

Phishing scams are becoming more common as the popularity of the internet continues to grow. Beware of any emails which are received that request personal information such as usernames, passwords, credit card or banking information and other personal information like National Insurance Numbers.

Although the free Wi-Fi on campus or in a coffee shop may seem too tempting to resist, it is important to remember that free Wi-Fi also leaves users vulnerable to fraud. Limit use of this tempting resource for general internet browsing and refrain from any sensitive transactions over a wireless network which isn’t secure. These considerations need to be made when using Cloud Wi-Fi services too, although the network is logged into using a username and password it is still an open public network.

A final note is to remember that the internet is an archive of data and that information posted can be retrieved at any time in the future. More and more employers are now checking the social media profiles of potential employees. A general rule of thumb is that if it isn’t something a potential employer can be shown, don’t post it.


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