Wednesday, November 02, 2005

ID Theft Prevention from Student Scholarship Scams

Why would a student ever have to worry about
identity theft?

In fact as a student, you may even be more vulnerable
to identity theft because of the availability of your
SSN through exam grade posting and the abundance of
credit card solicitations received in apartments or
dorm settings.

While your money may not be the #1 target for identity
thieves, your name and financial future is.

Imagine having thousands of dollars of unauthorized
debt and a wrecked credit rating because of identity
theft. Add to that identity theft horror, the
frustrating experience to repair your credit often
requires months and even years.

As a precaution to just one type of scam to be alerted
to targeting students, consider the following:

The Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Department
of Education has become aware of a potential fraud
scheme involving persons claiming to represent the
U.S. Department of Education who are calling students
and offering them scholarships or grants.

These callers request a bank or credit card account
number saying the information will be used to charge a
$249 processing fee. The Department of Education does
not charge a processing fee to obtain
federal education grants. DO NOT give your financial
information to individuals making these claims!

Not only will they be able to make you responsible
for the bogus $249 processing fee, but now they have
your credit card account and personal information to
inflict major financial damage to your identity.

So, our tip for today is:

Notify the police about the incident; impersonating a
federal officer, telemarketing fraud schemes, and
identity theft are crimes.

Report the fraud to the U.S. Department of Education,
Office of Inspector General hotline at 1-800-MIS-USED
(1-800-647-8733) or oig.hotline@ed.gov. Special agents
in the Office of Inspector General investigate fraud
involving federal education dollars. Contact the
Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP

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