By Roger Thompson, Chief Research Officer for AVG Technologies, Special to StudentAdvisor.com
As students start their new school year at college, parents will advise their children to stay safe, travel in groups, and lock their doors; however, few will emphasize the safe use of cell phones and computers, which are this generation’s portal to the world.
Since the explosion of social networking, today’s teens are entering adulthood with identities stolen, reputations damaged, and debt before leaving college and entering the workforce.
Use these 8 Ways to Protect Yourself Online while at college:
1. CELL PHONE NUMBER. Understand that your cell phone number is a gateway for scam artists. When someone asks for your cell phone number and then requests you confirm by text message, you are very likely committing something that has an extended financial obligation. If you attempt to download something, and need to accept the link via a text message, make sure there are no hidden charges. If you give out your cell phone number online, be vigilant and watch your bill for any “surprise” charges!
2. IDENTITY THEFT. Students need to be on their guard about their identities. Identity theft is a growing threat and cyber criminals are coming up with increasingly sophisticated techniques to steal personal data. Be watchful of your personal information – student ID, numbers, addresses, social security numbers, etc. Teens are the target age group for identify theft due to the fact that they are not paying attention.
3. GOOGLE YOURSELF. Have you Googled yourself lately? You only have one reputation, so if it’s poorly defined on the Internet, it will be hard to retract. Make sure things you are posting online (on Facebook, Twitter, etc) are appropriate to be seen by your school or future employers.
4. BEWARE OF SPEAR FISHING. Be aware of criminals who get enough information about a friend, and then pose as them online asking for money or personal information. Make sure your friends protect their identities online as well.
Read the full article on ways to protect yourself online in StudentAdvisor’s Dorm Essentials Guide.
What do you do to make sure your information is safe online? Comment & share below!
Roger Thompson is the Chief Research Officer for AVG, the maker of the world’s most popular free anti-virus software.