By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Do you or someone you know have a child living away at school? For most college students, it’s the first time that they’ll be managing their finances on their own. But with so many people living under a dorm roof, it’s important to make sure personal information stays safe and avoid becoming a victim of identity theft.

A Better Business Bureau survey of identity fraud found that 14 percent of identity theft is what they call “friendly fraud”, perpetrated by someone the victim knows. So what steps can you take to protect your identity on campus?

First, all of your mail containing sensitive or personal information should go to a parent’s home or to a post office box. Dorm mailboxes aren’t always secure, and are sometimes accessed by multiple students.

Important documents like Social Security cards and passports should stay under lock and key. Students constantly come and go from dorm rooms, and those items–and the sensitive information they carry–can easily disappear.

While roommates love to share, your bank card, credit card, and your ATM pin number should be kept to yourself. Also, keep your laptop up-to-date with anti-virus and anti-spyware software, especially when using Wi-Fi around or off campus.

Finally, it’s never too early keep tabs on credit. You should check your bank and credit statements regularly for any suspicious charges and be sure to review your credit report at least once per year. Everyone is entitled to a free credit report once a year from each of the big 3 credit reporting agencies. To obtain your free credit report, click on the link below:

Reported by Jim Donovan, CBS3

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