Graduation season is here and that means many young people will be heading out on their own for the first time. However, with that new-found freedom comes an increased risk for fraud and identity theft.

Did you know that young people fall victim to fraud and identity theft at a higher rate than older adults?

According to the Federal Trade Commission, in 2018 about 43% of people in their 20s reported a loss to fraud compared to 15% of people in their 70s. From Amazon to Netflix to social media, younger people are putting their financial and personal information online, making them more vulnerable to fraud and identity theft. With these numbers, it’s even more important that younger adults take precautions, so they don’t become a victim. Fraud and identity theft can negatively affect their credit now and years down the road.

How can you help protect yourself from fraud and identity theft?

Protect Your Personal Information Online and Offline

Online – Young adults can unintentionally make themselves vulnerable to fraud or identity theft by oversharing on social media. Keep birthdays, addresses, and other personal information private. Use creative and different passwords for online accounts as well as security software. And always wipe the data stored on computers, mobile phones, and other devices before disposing or selling them.

Offline – Store social security cards, financial documents, and other personal information in a lockbox in a secure location. Make copies of all the credit cards, identification cards, and other important documents that are kept in your wallet or purse in case it’s lost or stolen.

Monitor Your Credit and Identity Information

Protect yourself with credit and identity theft monitoring. Checking your credit report and score regularly is important so you can be aware of any unexplained changes. You also can receive alerts for suspicious activity for credit and non-credit related information. This is vital so you can act quickly if your personal information is compromised.

Taking precautions online and off and having credit and identity theft protection provides piece of mind, making it one less thing for new graduates to worry about as they start the next chapter of their lives.