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Saving You Money: College ID Theft

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Stacy Case

   Most kids are headed off to college this week and with that transition comes the risk of identity theft because college students are a top target.
    It's not just keeping an eye on a wallet anymore.  A smartphone, tablet, or laptop can give a thief access to valuable information.  There are three things college students should keep secure.  The bank account number, the credit card number and their social security number.  Also, check with your university about their privacy policies.
   Michael Kaiser with the National Cyber Security Alliance says, "Any new college students, I say, Hey, ask what are you doing with my information?  How do you store information?  Are you going to take that file and lock it in a cabinet when I leave here?  I mean those are the basic things that keep information safe."

  Credit card offers are slightly less prevalent on campuses due to changes in federal law.   However, when filling out applications, students need to keep their information secure.

  Identity theft can wreck your credit score, but tonight, there's a new system for calculating your credit score.   Now, 35 percent of your score is based on whether you pay your bills on time.  So do that, and you'll see your score go up.   Second,  stay out of debt. 30% of your score is what is called your utilization ratio. That's how much you owe on your credit cards across all the different credit limits you have. You want to keep that low and that means paying off your credit card balances in full each month.
    Remember, if you don't pay a bill on time, and a collection agency goes after you , it will appear on your credit report for up to seven and a half years.

    While you're keeping a close eye on your credit, don't forget to plan for your future.   Charles Schwab is out with a new survey that shows most people spend more time vacation shopping than they do on retirement planning.
   In the study, 39 percent spent more than five hours looking for vacation spots.  Only 11 percent  focused that long on their 401k's and investments.

    However, if you're traveling Labor Day Weekend.  Travel website, Kayak, has a list of the 10 least expensive destinations.  Orlando and Washington DC top the list.

Follow Stacy Case on Twitter @StacyCase_
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