For many families and students heading off to college full-time, most begin school with hopes to graduate in 4 years. Colleges and universities often structure their undergraduate offerings to accommodate this 4-year track, however, how realistic is it that you or your student will graduate on time? U.S. News & World Report recently shared the […]
What is Identity Theft? Back in the day, ID theft usually involved stealing someone’s wallet. From there, a thief could pretend to be you, racking up your credit cards, forging checks or committing other scams using your good name. Think of Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can. While that can and does still […]
Congratulations, you got accepted into college! Now how are you going to pay for it? Believe or not, there may be a lot of scholarships and grants out there for you to apply for, if you qualify, but searching for them can be a daunting task. Resist the urge to submit a college’s scholarship application […]
It’s normal to feel a little lost after college graduation. For the first time in around 15 years, you don’t have a back-to-school season in your future; there’s no set life structure ahead of you. What can you do after graduating to get yourself on the right track? Start with these five tips: 1. Know […]
Graduating in December means finishing all your classes and requirements mid-school year, and getting your diploma just in time for the holidays. It might not come with wrapping paper and a bow, but it’s a pretty impressive gift. If you’re a winter grad or are thinking about graduating next winter, take a look at this […]
For many families and students heading off to college full-time, most begin school with hopes to graduate in 4 years. Colleges and universities often structure their undergraduate offerings to accommodate this 4-year track, however, how realistic is it that you or your student will graduate on time? U.S. News & World Report recently shared the 10 schools with the highest 4-year graduation rates, topping out at 90.9%. Whether or not your school makes the list, disruptions to the 4-year track can and do happen to college families, even at the elite schools listed below. Are you prepared?
According to the U.S. Department of Education, only 37.1% of full-time, first-time students earn their bachelor’s degree within 4 years.What kinds of resources does your school have in place to help students achieve success? An interruption to the four-year path can be difficult for families to recover from, especially if there are financial obstacles. Paying for college can be difficult, even without an unfinished semester to add to tuition bills. Continue reading…
Back in the day, ID theft usually involved stealing someone’s wallet. From there, a thief could pretend to be you, racking up your credit cards, forging checks or committing other scams using your good name. Think of Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can.
While that can and does still happen these days, all of that is so 1990s compared to the high tech means identity thieves now use.
Enter the Internet and social media. With social media, today’s ID thieves are like hipsters in a thrift shop. Their excitement is palpable. The choices are endless. So much cool stuff all under one roof. Where does a thief begin? Perhaps on a social media behemoth such as Facebook. Why pick pockets on the street when you have a billion Facebook users to hack with just a few insidious clicks? It’s basic economies of scale.
Think about it: if you’re like most young adults, your entire life is on your computer or iPad—date of birth, Social Security number, banking info, credit card statements, etc. It’s all there somewhere. All a thief needs is a window to crawl through. And an often open window is your seemingly innocuous Facebook account.
Why am I Vulnerable on Facebook?
Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the U.S. Last year, over 12 million Americans were victims of identity theft, about one victim every 3 seconds. With over a billion users, Facebook provides a lot of opportunity, especially when so many users are exposed.
One recent survey found that 30% of Facebook users didn’t have their profiles set to private. Another 14% didn’t know what their privacy settings were.
Now put yourself at a thief’s computer. You want the easiest score, the lowest hanging fruit. With Facebook, the fruit is practically dragging the ground.
Let’s face it, while you’re on Facebook, your guard is down. You’re among friends. You’re sharing photos, “liking” posts, playing games. It’s all about sharing. It’s all happening fast and in such a cozy environment. And that’s just the way they like it.
How is my Identity Stolen?
Irony is a thief’s best friend. That’s because with ID theft, things happen in a way that seems to be opposite of what you expected. About 70% of ID theft victims on social media were asked to visit a scam website through a private message. Pretty sneaky. Here are a few examples of actual scams. The first is the “album pictures” scam. It goes something like this.
You receive an email from “Facebook” saying that a friend has posted their picture in an online album. As you’re waiting for the zip file to open (the one you just clicked on), little bits of code are burrowing into your hard drive. And before you can click “like” on that cat video, the malware has done its thing, disabling your computer or worse, gaining access to your personal info.
In another scam, you get an email saying “Hi (personalized with your name), here are some pages you may like,” along with pictures of the pages within the body of the email. The link takes you to the pictures where, once clicked, will take you to sites that deliver malware.
Some of the malware can include keystroke logging software that allows its initiator to track login info for anything—your bank, credit card, and other important financial information.
The worst part is, you might not even know you were infected. And you definitely want to know before they have a chance to do real damage. Want to see what an identity thief might see? Check out this Facebook ID theft simulation at www.protectyourprofile.org. This simulation scans your account and pulls up some surprisingly scary stuff. It is very real but is in no way compromising your actual information.
How to Protect Yourself on Facebook?
The old saying “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” is still a good one to live by. But with the speed of life today, all it takes is one click to send you down a path of “OMG, what did I just do!”
Here are some tips to help you stay protected:
Review and then maximize your Facebook privacy settings—there are plenty of great online resources to help you if needed
Limit the personal information you share. Don’t include your DOB, email, phone, pet’s names, places you’ve lived, etc.
Change your password regularly and use your Facebook password just for that account
Be judicious (read: cautious) about the kinds of “deals”, “offers” and emails you respond to and even the games you play on Facebook
Don’t hit the “like” button so much. You’ll cut down on spam and potential scammers
Be smart about the “friends” you add
If you’re using a public computer, make sure that it doesn’t store your login info and make sure to sign off when you’re done
Finally, don’t be paranoid about using Facebook and other social media. Just be a little smarter and more aware of your surroundings.
Written by Chris Hawkins. Chris Hawkins is the Content and Business Development Manager for Sprout Content, a content marketing agency. At Sprout, Chris develops and maintains business relationships, manages partner projects, and writes the occasional blog article. He has written extensively on a variety of topics for both commercial websites and consumer publications.
Congratulations, you got accepted into college! Now how are you going to pay for it? Believe or not, there may be a lot of scholarships and grants out there for you to apply for, if you qualify, but searching for them can be a daunting task. Resist the urge to submit a college’s scholarship application and call it a day. There may be funding out there for you, if you qualify, and here are a few tips to help you find it:
1. APPLY!: Don’t rule out the possibility of available scholarships to help you pay for school if you qualify. While some scholarships may be available to qualified freshmen, there may be other scholarship funds also available to qualified upperclassmen. Start with your school or program and look up grant and funding information on the web. If you need additional help, go talk to your academic advisor. Continue reading…
It’s normal to feel a little lost after college graduation. For the first time in around 15 years, you don’t have a back-to-school season in your future; there’s no set life structure ahead of you. What can you do after graduating to get yourself on the right track? Start with these five tips:
1. Know your student loan status
They might be big and scary, but student loan statements are something that you definitely should not hide from. Go through your emails, online accounts, and paperwork, and make sure you know what you’re up against. The prospect of paying off student loans will seem a little less scary if you make a game plan. Once you figure out how much you need to pay per month, you should make yourself a budget. Talk with your parents about payment help if you need to; just make sure it gets done. It can certainly be a challenge, but try to start your post-graduate life with good financial responsibility!
Graduating in December means finishing all your classes and requirements mid-school year, and getting your diploma just in time for the holidays. It might not come with wrapping paper and a bow, but it’s a pretty impressive gift. If you’re a winter grad or are thinking about graduating next winter, take a look at this list of perks that can come with finishing college in December.
Studying abroad is a very exciting time for most students, and more and more college students are taking advantage of this opportunity. In 2012, approximately 280,000 US students studied abroad according to the Institute of International Education. While studying internationally is a great experience for many students, it presents its own share of risks to college students. Depending on where in the world you may roam, fire safety and standards can differ dramatically from country to country. Regardless of where you travel, follow these tips for fire safety while studying abroad:
1. Recognize that fire safety standards are not the same in other countries outside the US.
While dorms and residence halls in the US are required to adhere to strict fire codes, the same cannot be said of other countries around the world. Depending on where you travel, there may not be a smoke detector in all of your building, let alone where you sleep. Do your research so you’ll be best prepared. Continue reading…
Fall is here! The colder weather has started to set in, and you know what that means, colds and the flu are coming next. The good news is you can be proactive by adding certain nutrients to your diet to minimize your risk of catching a pesky cold, just with a visit to the dining hall! Here is an infographic from the College Nutritionist, Rachel Paul, MS, RD, depicting which nutrients to get more of this season and some tips to include them in your diet.
Health insurance provides valuable protection from the high costs of healthcare. However finding a health insurance plan that fits your needs as a student or recent grad can be confusing and discouraging. With so many different plans out there, with different coverage levels and costs, it can be overwhelming to choose and find one that fits what you’re looking for. At GradGuard, our mission to make buying insurance easier for young adults. That’s why we’ve partnered with HealthPocket to make finding a health insurance plan more simple.
We are thrilled to announce the launch of our partnership with HealthPocket! We are committed to helping our customers find relevant, affordable insurance plans to help protect the lives they are building. With HealthPocket, we can help our customers and students find health insurance plans available in their areas via HealthPocket’s unbiased data from government and non-profit sources, as well as choose a quality plan thanks to the HealthPocket rating system.
Visit our page to learn more and see what Health Insurance plans are available to you!
Wondering what you should choose for your major? You may want to look beyond your interests and consider some of the stats and long-term repercussions of the major you choose. Some may lead to better job prospects down the line, but for all college degrees, your earning potential increases with one, and decreases without one. Check out this infographic for the stats on how your major compares. How will you choose your major?
You share a lot of things with your roommate – space, rent, furniture, and the list goes on. In a shared living situation, does it make sense to share a renters insurance policy with your roommate? If you’re renting, you may want to consider purchasing renters insurance to help protect your personal property and liability. If you live with a roommate, there are several things to think about when it comes to whether sharing a policy is right for you. Continue reading…