A paper shredder could save college kids from identity theft

CREATED Aug 28, 2014

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In addition to all the usual school supplies, the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection says parents should include at least one extra device as they get their young scholars off to class this fall.

 
"Send a paper shredder to destroy financial documents," says Sandy Chalmers, Administrator of Trade and Consumer Protection for the state of Wisconsin.
 
Chalmers says college students are especially vulnerable to identity theft, making up about 20% of all reported identity theft cases nationwide, for a variety of reasons.
 
"They're tightly packed into dorms. They share a lot of personal information online, and because they're new consumers, they're less likely to monitor their financial statements and credit reports," says Chalmers.
 
"That all makes them very attractive to identity theives."
 
There are many steps to take to avoid falling into the scores of traps and scams out there, but Chalmers believes simply destroying sensitive documents with a shredder will save a lot of headaches.
 
"It's really easy for anyone to walk through and pick up a credit card statement or health insurance document and open an account in your name," she says.
 
Destroying the documents removes most of that risk, so Chalmers says make sure to pack a shredder for the dorm room this year.