5 Things Students Should Know About Fraud

The 2012 Javelin Fraud Survey found that there are roughly 11.1 million victims of fraud per year, which equates to one victim every 2.7 seconds. Anyone can be at risk for online fraud, and since young adults and college students have such a large presence online, they can be particularly at risk. The following are five important things that college students should know about fraud.

1. Those notified of breaches are more likely to experience fraud

It has been reported that consumers who were notified that their information had been breached were 9.5 times more likely to experience fraud than those who did not receive a notification. In fact, 19% of those who received data breach notifications were fraud victims, compared to just 2% of those who did not receive notification. Because of this, it is important that young adults take warnings seriously.

2. Lower-income victims suffer worse consequences with fraud

The survey found that lower-income victims are hit harder by fraud than higher-income victims. Lower-income victims paid an average of $895 out of pocket, while the all-consumer average was $345. In addition, it took the lower-income victims more than twice as long to resolve their fraud. This is another indicator as to why college students and young adults just starting out should be wary of fraud.

3. Popular methods of account takeover

Changing mailing addresses and the adding of a registered user are the most popular methods of existing account takeover. Students should keep this in mind when looking through their accounts or changing any of their account information. They should always be careful and look for any erroneous details when reviewing their online accounts.

4. Bank accounts at risk

Checking and savings accounts are the most common types of misused accounts for non-card fraud. This makes sense considering the fact that online banking is becoming increasingly popular. College students who live away from their home and their bank frequently opt for the convenience of online banking. They should just be aware that it is important to keep a watchful eye on their accounts.

5. Social media can assist hackers

When changing the password to a personal account, there is usually a security question prompted to the user, such as, “What is the name of your first pet”? Many people inadvertently have answers to such questions on one or more of their social media profiles. Data shows that 55% of users share their birthday, 47% share their email address, 12% share their phone number, and 9% share their pet names. All of these things are often asked as security questions on various personal sites, so students need to be mindful of what they share online.

College students should know that there are some measures they can take to help prevent identity theft and fraud. When selecting security questions for personal accounts, they should select ones to which no one else knows the answers. Phone numbers and address should be kept off of social media profiles, and they should be aware of privacy settings options. It is also important that students don’t sign in to any important accounts on a shared computer or on a shared network. Passwords should always be kept unique and secret. Finally, any suspicious-looking activity from personal accounts should always be reported as quickly as possibly.

Because of the risks college students face today, GradGuard offers a Student Protection Plan that addresses identity theft and fraud. It offers internet fraud monitoring, identity resolution services, card and document registration, and lost/stolen credit card assistance. “People ages 18 to 24 are at the greatest risk because it takes them longer to figure out that they have been defrauded” (James Van Dyke, president of Javelin Strategy & Research). College students might seem like easy targets for fraud, but they don’t have to be.

Statistics from the 2012 Javelin Fraud Survey

To learn more about the risks young adults and students may face, please visit our blog. If you have questions about insurance, check out our FAQs and glossary for more information.