May , 2018

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CHICAGO, IL – Identity thieves victimize nearly 10 million people each year. Those victims include everyone, from infants to the retired, men and women, employed and unemployed and college students. A recent study done by the Federal Trade Commission reveals adults 18-29 years old file the most identity theft complaints.

For that age group and college students in particular, identity theft often ranks far down the list of what’s important. That’s because they have not taken into consideration the devastation to their financial future that can be the result of identity theft.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) sees identity theft as an area that requires constant vigilance. Exactly what is identity theft? Simply put it is:

  • Unauthorized use or attempted use of existing credit cards.
  • Unauthorized use or attempted use of other existing accounts such as checking accounts.
  • Misuse of personal information to obtain new accounts or loans, or to commit other crimes.

“Identity theft generally falls into two categories,” says Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern. “For college students it’s often the casual or one-time theft that may involve a current or former roommate. And the other is professional and involves a criminal organization.”

Bernas noted, “College students need to consider the long term impact of identity theft and take seriously what they should do to protect themselves.”

Recommendations from the BBB include:

  • Never loan your credit or debit card to anyone, even if they are a friend. Also, just say no if a friend wants you to co-sign a loan or finance agreement for items like cars, TVs or computers.
  • Don’t share too much information on social networks. People using social networking for five or more years are twice as likely to suffer identity fraud as those newer to these sites.
  • Make sure your computer has up-to-date antivirus and spyware software. Be diligent with installing updates and patches to your computer’s operating system or browser software. These will help keep your computer safe from hacking attempts by online identity thieves.
  • Important documents should be stored under lock and key. These include social security card, passport, and financial statements. Shred any paper documents that have sensitive financial information rather than simply tossing them out. Also shred any credit card offers that come in the mail.
  • Always check your credit or debit card statements closely for any suspicious activity. The sooner you identify any potential fraud, the less you’ll suffer in the long run.
  • School mailboxes are not always secure and mailboxes in a dorm or apartment can often be easily accessed. To combat sticky fingers in the mailroom, have sensitive mail sent to a permanent address such as your parents’ home or a PO Box.
  • When shopping on unfamiliar web sites, always check the company out first with BBB at www.bbb.org Also look for the BBB Accredited Business seal along with other trust seals and click on the seals to confirm that they are legitimate.
  • Check your credit report at least once a year with all three reporting bureaus for any suspicious activity or inaccuracies. You can do this for free by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com

For more tips, visit www.bbb.org, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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