It’s not just your personal safety and security you must be aware of when you’re pursuing a college education, but that of your personal and financial information.  It can be easy to forget as you wander the often secure feeling setting of a college campus, that there are a variety of dangers lurking in such a realm.  With so many people in one place, it tends to breed a sense or security that can create a feeling of openness many people might not have otherwise.  And this openness can lead to costly mistakes when it comes to the security of your most valuable personal and financial information.

Who’s Looking Over Your Shoulder?

With the mobility of laptops, the availability of ATMs, and access to email around campus, it can be easy to lose yourself in the convenience such amenities provide and forget that others around you could be peeking at your personal data.

Getting a privacy screen for your laptop, checking to ensure no one is around you when using the ATM (or just using a bank branch), and waiting until you get to a more secure location to check things like email, account statuses and similar items on your laptop can help ensure that prying eyes aren’t colleting your most valuable information.

Credit Card Safety

Credit cards are convenient, especially when away at school.  Students use them at bars, online, to buy their books, to grab a bite to eat, all sorts of other ways to make their busy academic lives just a little bit easier.  However, in the fray of college life and all those purchases, it can be easy to lose track of just what or where you’ve been using your card.

Using a student access card for certain purchases or carrying a little cash with you for smaller items can help reduce the number of times you must us a credit card and in turn diminish the possibilities of your card’s security being compromised.  It can also be a good idea to check the status of your card account and account balance on a regular basis, making it easier to get a jump on a security issue should it arise.

Guard Your Mail

You’ll likely still be getting mail when away at school, and in that mail may come important items such as credit card bills, bank statements, student loan information, and all sorts of other mailings that could hold risks to your personal and financial information should they fall into the wrong hands.

To avoid costly mail mistakes, consider not leaving mail with critical information lying around in the open where roommates or visitors might view it, shredding or otherwise destroying mail that is no longer necessary, and ensuring you’ve promptly changed your address with the US Postal Service when you move to new residence locations.

Secure Your Computer

Leaving your computer out or unattended could be the kiss of death when it comes to your personal and financial security.  Should someone gain access to or worse yet, steal your computer, you could lose all sorts of valuable personal information.

Consider locking your laptop up inside a desk if leaving it in your dorm room (and locking your dorm room as well), password protecting access to your computer, and taking a laptop along with you when you leave if you fear your roommate might not leave a dorm room or similar living area secure when you’re not around.

Room Safety

If living in dorm, fraternity, sorority, apartment or other more communal type living location, it can also be important to consider the security of your living space and possessions when you’re away.  Especially when dealing with a roommate or multiple roommates, having a talk with this person or people when it comes to locking doors and windows, when visitors are or aren’t allowed, and generally leaving your living space in a secure state when no one is around can help get everyone on the same page when it comes to security.

Locking doors when you leave, securing valuables as best you can when not around, and not leaving pertinent personal or financial items out for all to see — whether you’re there or not — can help reduce the chances of such information falling into the wrong hands.



This article is for informational purposes only.  The author is not an educational professional or academic advisor.  Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.