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Off to college? Protect your identity

Students heading off to college are prime targets for identity theft.

Here is a list of tips for them to learn how to protect their identity today for tomorrow, provided by IdentityTruth, which helps consumers safeguard their identity:

Social Security numbers: If you're going off to college, ask the school not to use your Social Security number as your college ID number. Always, be very careful who you give your Social Security number to.

Text messages: Watch out for text-message offers. Many of these offers come from sources that are not secure. To be safe, call your cell phone provider and opt out of this marketing feature.

MySpace and Facebook: Yes, networking is fun, but sharing personal information can damage your identity. Watch out: Although you are prompted to provide your full name, date of birth, addresses for both home and campus, class schedules and phone numbers, never give any personal information on unsecured sites. This information can be gathered to obtain access to your personal accounts.

Laptops: Stolen laptops are another vehicle to obtain personal information about an individual. Over the past six months, 25 percent of data breaches have happened in colleges and universities by stealing laptops at the registrar's office. Always make sure your laptop is password protected at all times.

Purchasing a security cable can prevent your laptop from being removed from a stationary object without knowing the assigned password. The good thing is, if one was to rip out the cable without the password, all your information is automatically removed. Another option is to engrave your laptop.

Cell Phones: Never store identifying names, companies or log-in information on your cell phone. If you lose your cell phone, all this information can be easily extracted off your SIM Card and used to access your personal information.

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