Identity Theft: Is It a Threat to Students?

Among the growing list of security concerns in our modern society, identity theft tops the list. Many people think of it as an issue that affects the wealthy or elderly, but nothing could be further from the truth. Anyone can be a victim, especially naive and unsuspecting students. It only takes one wrong move, and you find yourself in the worst scandal of your life.

That said, let’s look at some of the risks of identity theft for students and the best ways to escape these threats. Solutions range from simple tips to more advanced methods, which you can adopt to avoid putting your identity at risk.

Identity Theft: Is It a Threat to Students?

Using Weak Passwords

One grievous mistake most students make is using weak PINs and passcodes. Probably that’s because they are not doing anything serious like accessing bank accounts or company databases regularly. However, this is an innocent mistake that hackers are betting you will make. They use skillful techniques to try and compromise your credentials. Importantly, you should have different login details for every account that you own. Doing so makes it hard for anyone to hack all your accounts by stealing one password. Embrace more robust login security, like using two-factor authentication for all your accounts whenever possible.

Sharing Personal Details Over A Phone

Students are notorious for sharing everything via their mobile gadgets. They will screenshot almost everything from their chats to their dinner on the table to share with their friends. However, this is a critical security risk. You should avoid sharing your data, like financial details, passwords, or address credentials, over the phone. Otherwise, anyone who manages to steal your phone or the message recipient’s phone can get access to this valuable information.

Failing to Update Online Accounts and Software

As busy as they are, students always overlook the need to update their accounts because it takes their time. Subsequently, they overlook that some of these patches solve security breaches developers find over time. Hence, to be safe, always install updates on your devices as soon as they are available. Also, don’t suspend any security protocol or settings because you think it’s slowing your device down. Your phone or computer can be infected with malware or viruses if you do so, which often goes unnoticed until it’s too late.

Overlooking Verification Tools

Whether because of their young age or innocence, students seem to trust everyone they meet online and forget the need for identity verification. This has been among the leading causes of growing identity theft and scamming. Not everyone is to be trusted online, which is why identity verification tools exist. Nuwber is a database of US citizens and can help verify if someone is who they say they are online.

Neglecting Antivirus Software and Firewalls

Unfortunately, students will always have enough space for video games and movies but no room for antivirus software. In fact, some students go to the extent of uninstalling already pre-installed anti-malware programs to create more space for their files. The worst thing is that these files put their devices at risk of attack, while firewalls work to minimize these threats to safeguard their gadgets.

Hackers leverage your curiosity to take over your gadget whenever you unknowingly download malicious files online. As internet usage becomes more popular, so do hackers’ methods and devices to invade your privacy. Always ensure that your gadgets have antivirus programs installed; free tools might also offer good service.

Storing Important Files in One Place

Whoever said don’t put all your eggs in one basket was right if they were talking about file storage. Think about what could happen if you have all your assignments saved in your google drive but can’t log into your drive because someone changed the credentials. As infuriating as that sounds, it could happen if your credentials are all over and you never back up your files on a portable disk. Even if you have uploaded your data to an online storage site, consider backing it up offline.

Overdependence on Public Internet  

Show me a public Wi-Fi hotspot, and I will show you a crowd of students sucking the internet dry. While it is usual for students to be broke most of the time, it is not okay to let that come between you and your online safety. Hackers and identity thieves are betting you’ll make this mistake and are lurking in the shadows. Again, public Wi-Fi might have undetectable malware that would take you a lifetime to detect. Normalize using mobile data to browse; though it’s more expensive, its value is as high as the cost of identity theft is.

Abandoning Confidential Documents

Not all documents are for every eye; bank and identification documents are for your eyes only. Use a shredder to destroy any financial receipts or anything else containing confidential data. It keeps your data safe, and you can rest assured no copies of it exist anywhere. If you lose track of these documents, someone with malicious intentions can take advantage of them. 

Ignoring Phishing and Spoofing Alerts

Phishing attacks have become so common; the target audience is often young students looking to get rich quickly. These attacks often come in the name of someone looking to share some of their newly found wealth with you, and all you have to do is give them an account to deposit or address. Unfortunately, many students and young adults can’t read the malice and end up giving up the details. What happens next is that you never hear from these people again, but your personal details can now be used to commit a crime.


You can avoid many issues resulting from identity theft if you only take the time to implement some responsibility with personal details. The best way to safeguard your data is to follow the tips and advice in this article and avoid freebies online. Also, use antivirus software, don’t click on any malicious links, and restrict your online interactions to only the ones with your acquaintances. The bottom line is to never fall for the temptation to share your information on any platform you don’t know.

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