CHARLESTON – West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is cautioning students heading off to school to make sure they take some necessary steps to protect their personal information from scammers.

Morrisey issued this advice as part of his office’s second annual Back to School Consumer Protection Week.

“Going off to school is an exciting time, but with this new independence, students should be extra careful to ensure they’re not opening themselves up to scammers,” Morrisey said in a press release. “Identity theft can cause lasting problems for a victim, and it can be especially harmful to those who are just beginning to establish their own personal and financial profiles.”

Morrisey said students should always be wary if a website, salesperson or any other unsolicited communication asks for their personal information. Social media has also presented scammers with ways to reach new victims, so students should be wary of any private messages they receive from people you don’t know, as well as messages and posts that offer things that sound too good to be true.

Additionally, if you live in a dorm or apartment with a commons area, always make sure to password-protect your computers and personal devices so that other people can’t access them, and be sure to never display your personal information in areas where people can look over your shoulder and watch what you’re doing.

“Protecting your identity and information from scammers is a constant problem,” Morrisey. “Fortunately for students and consumers, there are some good ways to prevent their information from falling in the wrong hands.”

Students should remember the following tips to protect their identity:

* Shred any and all documents that have your personal information on it.

* Keep your Social Security number safe. Never carry your Social Security card with you and only give out your Social Security number when absolutely necessary.

* Never click on links in unsolicited emails.

* Your computer is an easy way to lose your identity so use firewalls, anti-spyware, and anti-virus software to protect your computer, especially if using public, unrestricted Wi-Fi.

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