Tag Archives: identity theft

The Parents’ Guide to a Worry-Free Semester

By Caitlin Fahey for CollegeTipsForParents.org

The transition from high school to college is difficult. For the parents. For those of you who are sending your children to college for the first time, I’m sure you’re a nervous wreck. But a college education is what every parent wants for their children today, isn’t it? I survived my freshman year (and so did my parents). I went on to mentor freshmen for two years, and am currently a graduate assistant, teaching two sections of freshman English. I can assure you, you don’t have to worry as much as you think you do.

Many of you probably worry about the fact that your son or daughter is alone in an unfamiliar place. How safe is their campus, you might ask yourself. In the wake of the Virginia Tech tragedy, you aren’t the only anxiety-ridden person. Schools all over the country are stepping up the security measures. At my alma mater, there are emergency phones so evenly distributed throughout the campus that an orientation leader boasted, “There isn’t one place on campus that you can stand without at least one blue light in view.” The blue lights on the phones signal a place where one push of a large “help” button immediately calls 911. Since Virginia Tech, many schools have also implemented an emergency text message service, so that in the case of a campus-wide emergency, students may be alerted anywhere.

I bet I can guess your next worry: alcohol, right? Universities today are not only associated with higher education, but with keg parties and binge drinking. However, I’m sorry to say that it’s not your place to lecture. But rest assured: universities don’t like the “party school” label anymore than you like imagining Johnny too hung-over to make it to Chemistry. Since my college days, I’ve also seen dorm security tighten up, and many campuses assign freshmen and sophomores to “dry” residences, where no alcohol is permitted. Likewise, for two years I was a mentor for a “First Year Experience” class, a one-credit course designed to help freshmen adjust. We had a unit on drug and alcohol abuse and educated the class about everything from legal repercussions to the signs of alcohol poisoning. If you can’t stop a college student from drinking, you can help them drink responsibly.

No matter what I say, I’m sure you still have doubts in the back of your mind. What if something does happen? Chances are, your child’s school has an abundance of resources. I teach freshmen English to a relatively small class. Because of the intimate classroom setting, the students tend to open up to their English teachers. I’ve had students come to office hours to talk about boy troubles, or use in-class writing to rant about how they think they are failing chemistry. I have a number of referrals I can make in these situations. Mental Health Services offer confidential counseling for students fighting depression, anxiety, or eating disorders. There is an Advocacy Center that also offers counseling and advice for extenuating circumstances, and study resources such as the Writing Center and tutoring services. Besides, there are so many recreational facilities and student activities on campus, that there’s a good chance your child will get over their homesickness and be in good spirits all semester.

For the parents, college brings a lot to worry about. Are they eating? Are they safe? Are they doing well in school? College is just as much a transition for the student as it is the parent. The bright side is that the four years of university will fly by. Suddenly, you’ll realize that the child you left in a strange dorm four years ago has become a young adult.

This article was originally written for CollegeTipsForParents.org by Caitlin Fahey a few years back, when Caitlin was pursuing a Master’s degree in English while teaching two sections of First Year Composition, a college writing course for college freshman students. As an undergrad, she similarly served as a freshman year mentor in a First Year Experience program. In addition to teaching, Caitlin’s interests include writing, theater, and film. As an experienced college student, she has some useful insights for college parents regarding: College Drinking, Campus Security, College Health, and other typical worries of College Parents.

9 Tips for College Students To Reduce Info Fraud Risks

Steps You and Your College Student Can Take to Reduce the Risks of Info Fraud and Identity Theft
Presented by CollegeTipsForParents.org

College Students are frequently the victims of information fraud. The victims’ parents are often asked to help fix the financial mess and spend considerable time untangling the administrative issues.

Identity thieves often know their victims; either directly or indirectly. Thieves might be their dorm-mates, friends, siblings of friends, classmates, co-workers, current or ex-boy/girlfriends, friends from extra-curricular activities, etc.

Names, addresses, birthdates, social security numbers, account numbers, and other personal data are valuable commodities on the underground market. An ex-boyfriend could easily possess all of this info. In fact, he might even know inside information such as passwords, PIN number, mother’s maiden name, etc.

What are some of the reasons young people are frequently victimized?:

-Casual attitude about taking precautions.
-Naive about security and safety.
-Trusting (often because they have never been swindled before).
-Less likely to review their credit report for unusual activity.

According to MoneyManagement101.com , parents should talk to their kids about identity theft and information security. Although the following tips may seem obvious to experienced adults, a surprising number of young people don’t follow some of the following basic guidelines.

-Never lend your credit card or debit card to anyone, and never share your password.
-Do not print your driver’s license number, birth date, or social security number on your checks.
-When you write a check at a store, don’t allow the store to confirm your check by writing in your credit card number.
-Do not put outbound mail in your mailbox for your postal carrier to pickup. Take your mail directly to a US postal mailbox.
-If your credit card or ATM card is lost or stolen, alert your bank/credit card issuer immediately.
-Avoid using passwords or PIN numbers that might be easy for a thief to figure out (i.e. avoid birth dates, common names, etc.
-Shred any financial documents or anything containing sensitive information before putting them in the trash.
-Always check your credit card statement for charges you did not make.
-Order a copy of your credit report at least once per year. Look out for creditors on your statement that you never applied for.

We will feature additional tips and suggestions on CollegeTipsForParents.org in the near future.