Data breaches students need to be aware of – Beware of hackers who wait to steal your identity

It has become a regular affair that you get to know about yet another hack which compromises your personal data. Recently it has been seen that student are much more vulnerable to identity thieves as they’re ignorant of majority of financial information. While you can’t get complacent about this, you also don’t require panicking about every single leak of information. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, the total number of data breaches in 2015 saw a record high level. A predicted 89 million records including debit and credit card numbers were all compromised and Home Depot, Staples and Kmart are some of the companies which went through maximum spillage.

The worst report then came in the form of the hacking faced by health insurer Anthem whose Social Security number was hacked by identity thieves. This one was a nightmare and is still counted as one of the biggest cases of identity theft. Being a student, you have to be careful enough about your financial details so that you can outsmart the hackers.

Your Social Security Number

You should worry a lot about your SS number as this is pure gold to identity thieves. A thief could apply for new credit under your identity and you could have to spend years repairing your financial records.

What should you do: Get an immediate copy of your credit report as soon as you can for tracing any kind of unusual activity. At the minimum, you can even set a 90 day fraud alert with one of those bureaus which will take the responsibility of informing the other two.

Best move: The best move you could take is to freeze your credit, prevent anyone else from getting loans in your name. Pay $10 to the credit bureau and place a freeze till $12 and lift it when you apply for new credit.

Any of your Passwords

Your extent of worry will depend on the type of site which was hacked and whether or not you reuse passwords. An identity protection firm found out that 62% of the people do reuse passwords.

What should you do: In an ideal situation, you should change your password on the site that was hacked and also change the password on all the other sites so as to remain safe. But if the idea of changing your password seems a huge task for you, the least that you can do is change the codes for some of the most critical accounts. This will make it tough for hackers to break into your account once it’s compromised.

Your Credit card Number

You can worry little about your credit card number as when identity thieves steal only your credit card number, you won’t be obligated for any kind of fraudulent charges. With the debit number, you won’t be liable for the unauthorized charges which you report within 60 days of obtaining your statement.

Best move: Go through your statements carefully and call the issuer you find out any charges which you can’t recognize. Don’t assume anything or wait for your banks to take the first step. Whenever you spot something different, you should take immediate action for yourself rather than waiting for anyone else to take.

Therefore, if you’re a student using debit cards and credit cards, you should always be ready to outsmart the hackers and the identity thieves who are waiting to steal your identity and deceive you. Take into account the above mentioned details and make sure you don’t lose your credit and debit card numbers and your SS details.

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