Students make easy targets for ID theft

By Jana Fagotti
September 19, 2002

Identity fraud is the cause of much concern for college students as they embark on the journey to their future. While trying to maintain normalcy throughout their college years, security is not something that students should have to be concerned about. Credit card fraud is just the beginning of this widespread trend.

Director of Public Safety, Charlie Schaffner said, “Most college students are preyed upon because this is their first experience in the real world.” Schaffner said that Cabrini has had several incidents of identity fraud concerning students on campus last year and, so far, there are two reported incidences this year.

Megan Beauduy, a sophomore and resident of Mechanicsburg, Pa., is one of those victims. Beauduy received a phone call from Capital One inquiring as to whether she opened an account. She had not and yet the company had all of her information including her home address, telephone number and social security number. She was shocked to learn that she had been a victim of identity fraud.

Days later she received credit reports, one with the wrong date of birth, indicating that there was a third party involved. Beauduy contacted Public Safety who claimed that with such little information not much could be done for her.

Beauduy still has growing concerns and suspicions as to how her information could have been obtained. Schaffner said that students should “be judicious in the use of credit cards. Many companies obtain personal information through a ploy that is a part of college fundraising in which the colleges sell the addresses for money. Cabrini is not one of them.”

He also commented about online services such as America Online that open so many options to their clients for buying products online; the buyers do not read the terms of agreement which may state that their site is non-secure. That is exactly how online services interconnect and fraud happens.

What happens if you receive a pre-approved credit card application in your campus mailbox, in your Cabrini email account, or under the windshield wiper of your car? Schaffner said, “Contact Public Safety immediately.” Credit card companies are not allowed to solicit on campus. Past incidences have resulted in the intervention of Radnor Police.

Posters have been hung around campus to alert students that identity fraud can happen to anyone. Schaffner urges students not to be fooled. He also encourages students to cut up or shred papers that contain valuable information before throwing them away. Public Safety says it will try to do anything they can to stop students like Megan Beauduy from being victims of identity fraud.

If you are a victim of identity theft or have experienced any signs of identity theft contact Charlie Schaffner, director of Public Safety, at X8251.

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Jana Fagotti

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