Tuesday, 06 03, 2014
Students under age 18 are often targeted for identity theft because they frequently have no reason to check their credit scores. Here are several ways to protect yourself, according to the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA).
· Never provide personal information such as your Social Security number, bank account or credit card numbers in response to a phone call, fax, letter or email. Don’t respond to emails that claim to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The IRS doesn’t contact taxpayers by email. Nor does the IRS threaten to send local police to arrest you, as a popular phone scam claims.
· Friends, family members, roommates and workers in homes make up a large percentage of identity thieves because they have access to your information. Make sure you don’t leave personal information where they can see it. Shred any documents that contain personal or financial information.
· Pick up your mail as soon as possible after delivery or use a locked mailbox. Put outgoing mail in a blue Postal Service mailbox, hand it to a mail carrier or take it to the post office.
· Never provide bank, credit card or other sensitive data when visiting a website that doesn’t explain how your personal information will be protected, including the use of encryption to safely transmit and store data.
· When you use your bank card, make sure no one can see your personal identification number (PIN).
· On your personal computer, install a free or low-cost firewall to stop intruders from gaining remote access to your PC. Download and frequently update security patches offered by your operating system and software vendors to correct weaknesses that a hacker could exploit.
KHEAA is the state agency that administers Kentucky’s grant and scholarship programs, including the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES). It provides financial literacy videos at http://itsmoney.kheaa.com. KHEAA also provides free copies of “It’s Money, Baby,” a guide to financial literacy, to Kentucky schools and residents upon request at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn how to plan and prepare for higher education, go to www.gotocollege.ky.gov. For more information about Kentucky scholarships and grants, visit www.kheaa.com; write KHEAA, P.O. Box 798, Frankfort, KY 40602; or call 800-928-8926, ext. 6-7372.