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Morrisey warns college students of identity theft dangers

CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey urges college students to use caution as another school year begins and sensitive information is shared.

College is the first time many young adults are in charge of their own personal affairs, which makes them susceptible to scammers. Identity thieves may take advantage of students’ newfound freedom to try and access personal and sensitive information.

“College students may forget how important it is to safeguard personal information,” Morrisey said. “Not doing so can cause a lot of unwanted issues and headaches down the road as it may make them vulnerable to identity theft.”

Students should use strong passwords to protect access to devices and never share or leave personal information on display.

Billing statements and other sensitive information should be shredded or kept secure rather than keeping them indefinitely.

Students should also be wary of any unsolicited attempt to gain access to personal information and never divulge such information without verifying the authenticity of the recipient.

Additionally, college students are encouraged to download firewalls and software that prevent computer viruses and spyware from impacting their devices.

Some social media sites and email services allow users to set a two-factor authentication that requires them to verify each login. This will let students know if an unauthorized person attempts to access their account.

The Attorney General’s Office issues this advice as part of the sixth annual Off to College Consumer Protection Week. To learn about consumer protection efforts in West Virginia, visit www.ago.wv.gov/consumerprotection.

Anyone with questions should contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-368-8808, the Eastern Panhandle Consumer Protection Office in Martinsburg at 304-267-0239 or visit the office online at www.wvago.gov.