SOURCE: Europ Assistance USA

August 05, 2008 08:45 ET

ID Theft Lessons Learned: Back to School Advice for College Students

BETHESDA, MD--(Marketwire - August 5, 2008) - As the school year begins, Europ Assistance USA, the professional ally for people in crisis or distress, is cautioning college students and their parents to take precautions to protect against identity theft.

As students arrive on campus for the fall semester, many are unaware of the danger inherent in not properly protecting personal information such as social security numbers. Educational institutions struggle to secure the unending stream of personal student data that filters through their campuses, and students need to take steps to help ensure the protection of their information and deter fraudulent activity. Moreover, with the popularity of social networking sites, students may feel safe to share seemingly innocuous personal information such as date of birth which can help identity thieves commit fraud.

"Students need to be cautious of who has access to their personal information," said Guillaume Deybach, president and CEO at Europ Assistance USA. "The freedom of dorm living and the fun of social networking sites can foster a great sense of community, but be careful to protect personal information that can be used to steal your identity, especially your social security number."

Europ Assistance advises the following for students to help prevent identity theft:

--  Do not give out personal information such as social security number,
    date of birth or bank account details without first verifying that the need
    for such information is legitimate and your information will be protected.
--  Be wary of signing up for credit card offers at promotional booths and
    kiosks on or off campus.
--  Review your credit reports from the three major reporting agencies
    yearly for accuracy by going to www.annualcreditreport.com.  You are able
    to access your credit report from TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian from
    this site once every year for free.
--  Store birth certificates and social security cards in a footlocker or
    other secured place -- not in your wallet or an unlocked drawer of your
    dorm room.
--  Shred pre-approved credit card offers, and lock up loan receipts and
    copies of documents with personal information.
--  Keep track of financial aid documents, the amounts applied for and the
    aid rewarded.
--  Immediately report stolen or lost student identification cards to your
    school security department.
    

Europ Assistance USA can work on behalf of educational institutions or the individual to quickly identify and address concerns when students fall victim to identity theft in its many forms. Europ Assistance provides start to finish, one-on-one support for victims throughout the entire recovery process, managing all necessary logistics to fully restore the stolen identity, including reporting a fraudulent student loan to the U.S. Department of Education and Federal Trade Commission to start an investigation.

About Europ Assistance USA

Europ Assistance USA, headquartered in the Washington, DC Metro Area, is a part of the multinational Europ Assistance Group and its network of 71 companies, 5,500 employees and more than 850,000 service providers and medical personnel offering assistance services in 208 countries and territories around the globe. For close to half a century, the group has tailored solutions for assisting people wherever they may be and helping them respond to the unexpected throughout their daily lives. Services include identity theft resolution, data breach response services, emergency medical transportation, medical referrals, case monitoring, and claims management. Twenty-four hours a day at 34 assistance centers worldwide, multilingual assistance coordinators answer more than two calls per second and handle one assistance case every two seconds. www.europassistance-usa.com

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Jessica Ashley
    Europ Assistance USA
    240-330-1040
    Email Contact