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Students, Grades and Social Security Numbers

August 27, 2009

When social security numbers were first issued back in the 1920’s, they were never intended to be used for identification purposes. They were simply to be a way to track earnings and the amount of money you had paid into the new social security system not a critical piece of information for identity theft.

Flash forward 50 years….

SSN’s are being used by everybody to identity you. In recent decades past, they were used as student numbers. Every report card my children got has their number on it. Even colleges used them.

Flash forward to the present time…..

Schools, colleges and universities routinely post grades online now. The Department of Education reports that almost 50 percent of college students have had grades posted by Social Security number. Because students seldom bother to check their credit report, a theft can go on for years and not be discovered until they’re turned down for a school loan, an apartment, or a job.

Identity theft isn’t always about having money stolen from you. The real danger in identity theft is the harm it does to your financial future. In reality, they are stealing your reputation and that’s where the real harm is done.

Imagine graduating from college all ready to start off on a new life only to find out that someone has racked up thousands of dollars in charges using your name. The unfortunate reality of identity theft is that you, as the victim, are left to clean up the mess and clear your good name. It can be unbelievably frustrating and can take months or even years. You will automatically be assumed to be a deadbeat and it’s up to you to prove you’re not.

If your school is still using any part of your social security number for identification, you need to find out what you can do to get this archaic practice changed.

Related post: College Students are High Risk for Identity Theft

What Makes Identity Theft So Gut-wrenching?

August 19, 2009

When I talk to people about identity theft the usual issue that pops into their mind is money that would be stolen. And many times they’ll just say their credit is so bad that no one would want to steal their identity anyway.

One of the biggest issues with id theft is the mess it can make out of your personal finances and the way this mess can leave you labeled as a deadbeat. The emotional devastation this brings on can be way worse than any financial issues.

I ran across a blog post recently that was written by a 20-something gal named Elyssa. Her income tax return had been rejected several years in a row.  Her admitted ignorance of what to do (if anything) led the problem to go on for years. Her post tells of her mission to get it resolved.

Here’s a little excerpt:

When taken into account the substantial cost to society, not to mention the havoc it wreaked on my life, I respectfully think that maybe you should not assume that someone is making false claims just because you don’t think it sounds "right."

 

Lots of things don’t "sound right" however that doesn’t mean they aren’t true. Gotta go now, I have a date with eBay to auction my social security card to the highest bidder. Clearly, it is not worth anything to me so long as the authorities fail to do their part in ENFORCING the laws associated with Identity theft. Sure, it is easy to blame the victim as being irresponsible or somehow negligent in these situations, however I will refer you to some fascinating research that has been done on the emotional consequences of Identity theft. The cost is far more than just an issue of financial discomfort; it is something that can ultimately leave you questioning your own identity.

Don’t poke your head in the sand and pretent it can’t happen to you.

Students, Grades and Social Security Numbers

August 6, 2009

When social security numbers were first issued back in the 1920’s, they were never intended to be used for identification purposes. They were simply to be a way to track earnings and the amount of money you had paid into the brand new social security system.

Flash forward 50 years....

SSN’s are being used by everybody to identify you. In recent decades past, they were used as student numbers. Every report card my children got has their SSN on it. Even colleges used them.

Flash forward to the present time…..

Schools, colleges and universities routinely post grades online now. The Department of Education reports that almost 50 percent of college students have had grades posted by Social Security number. Because students seldom bother to check their credit report, a theft can go on for years and not be discovered until they’re turned down for a school loan, an apartment, or a job.

Identity theft isn’t always about having money stolen from you. The real danger in identity theft is the harm it does to your financial future. In reality, they are stealing your reputation and that’s where the real harm is done.

Imagine graduating from college all ready to start off on a new life only to find out that someone has wracked up thousands of dollars in charges using your name. The unfortunate reality of identity theft is that you, as the victim, are left to clean up the mess and clear your good name. It can be unbelievably frustrating and can take months or even years. You will automatically be assumed to be a deadbeat and it’s up to you to prove you’re not.

If your school is still using any part of your social security number for identification, you need to find out what you can do to get this archaic practice changed. Be pro-active and go to the administrative office and encourage them to change their system. It’s safer for everyone in the long run.

Related Article:
College Students Are High Risk for Identitiy Theft

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