AUSTIN (KXAN) - College-aged adults are among the most active online, but that also makes them the most vulnerable to identity theft.
In light of back to school week, the Better Business Bureau reminded college-aged adults to be careful with what kind of personal information they are sharing online. According to the Consumer Sentinel Network Database, adults in their twenties are most prone to falling victim to identity theft.
"College-aged adults are easy targets because most of their credit is good, they have a clean record, they have clean financial information. Most of them are easy targets," said Better Business Bureau Communications Manager Jarrod Wise.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, Texas Ranked fifth in the nation for reported cases of identity theft last year.
Nearly 60,000 consumers between the ages of 20 and 29 were victims of identity theft in 2012 -- more than the 20 percent of the total number of identity theft complaints reported that year.
University of Texas sophomore student James Barton was one of those victims last year.
"It was at a Pluckers parking garage.. by a parking garage attendant," Barton said. "That person stole my credit card and attempted to put multiple charges on it and we stopped the card."
Barton initially lost $200, but managed to recover that money later.
People in their twenties, like Barton, are often targeted because they have good credit scores and clean financial information.
"It's really important that college students check their credit report at annualcreditreport.com and they can do that once a year for free," Wise said.
According to the Better Business Bureau, online shopping is one of the easiest ways to fall victim to a scam.
Cassandra Jaramillo said she online shops a lot, but she's careful about where she enters her credit card information.
"I only shop either weekly or every other week right now since school's starting, I'm buying a lot of textbooks," Jaramillo said. "I bought a protector for my cell phone, my computer, some shoes to walk in that are comfortable, so right now it's pretty frequent," Jaramillo said.
Some scams are harder to spot.
"I have a friend who went to a website, bought some tennis shoes and it turns out the website was completely fake," Jaramillo said.
One simple way to spot a secure website is by looking at its URL. The 's' in 'https://' stands for 'secure,'" Wise said.
Information entered into websites that only have an "http://" address is more likely leaked to other websites.
- Get sensitive mail (like bills) sent to a permanent address like your parents house, or invest in a P.O. box
- Shred any documents that have your financial information on them
- Make passwords complicated and set a different password for each account
- Set passwords for computers and smart phones that are not easily accessible. For example, don't use 1234 or 0000.
- Update antivirus software on computers-- makes information less vulnerable to being hacked.
- Close out of everything you log into. if purchase something online from a retail site, close out immediately, so if someone else uses your computer or phone, they're not seeing your financial information.
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Sub-freezing temperatures and an approaching upper level disturbance could combine to produce some patchy freezing drizzle or sleet Saturday and early Sunday morning.