Heading back to campus?
Excited about that new fake ID?
So is the guy who just stole your identity.
Finally. Away from home and on your own. But you’re not old enough to buy a beer at that hot new club. So maybe you’re thinking … just thinking … about getting a fake ID. So you check out some websites that make bogus IDs for underage students.
Well, you might want to hit the pause button right now and think twice. Sure it’s illegal, but it’s also a bad idea. The people offering these services obviously don’t care that it’s illegal. But some have even more sinister intentions. They just want your personal identity information so they can get some nice new stuff and leave you and your parents with a nice big headache.
A lot of these guys operate overseas and are simply a cover for elaborate identity theft rings. The scam begins when you go online and order your fake ID. If you want a different birthdate, think about what real information you could still be providing: name, address, driver’s license number—and of course they’ll need a photo. To complete the transaction you’ll likely supply your email address, phone number and credit card number.
In the end, identity thieves can use the information you provided to open credit or get a loan and go on a nice spending spree, order satellite TV and maybe an awesome new phone—all on your dime. Then they can make even more money by selling your information to global black market websites that are in business to buy, sell and trade personal identity information.
This is one college lesson you don’t want to learn.
Creating a fake ID causes more harm than it’s worth. These thieves can take what yours and make it their own. And if you have accounts tied to your parent’s finances, they can attack those to. Remember, not only is it illegal, it’s a bad idea that could expose you to identity theft. That’s a pretty heavy toll for a couple of beers and a pack of smokes. Don’t do it.
More tips for more protection:
Public Wi-Fi can be way too public.
Many campuses offer free Wi-Fi services, which are great for research or just surfing. But when you’re using the free public Wi-Fi in your favorite coffee house, take some precautions. Understand that the connection is not always secure and identity thieves may have the ability to intercept wireless activity and see where you’re going and what you’re doing. So with public Wi-Fi, it’s best to avoid social networks, paying bills or shopping online. And don’t access your bank accounts from there either.
Credit cards are safer than debit cards.
Consider using your credit card instead of your debit card. If an identity thief targets your debit card, you could lose the money in your checking or savings account. But if your credit card is compromised, notify your financial institution and your bank account funds should be protected.
Protect your social security number.
Some colleges and universities may still use your Social Security number as your student identification number. If that’s your school, request a different number instead of your Social Security number. The fewer places it’s out there the better.
So sure, enjoy school and your new freedom away from home. Just remember that it doesn’t hurt to be a little aware. Some of these crooks can make a great day for them a very bad one for you.
† Federal Trade Commission. “Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book For
January – December 2011.” February 2012.
† Javelin Strategy & Research. "2012 Identity Fraud Report: Social Media and Mobile Forming
the New Fraud Frontier." February 2012.