College students spend, on average, six to eight hours a day on social media.
They frequently interact with people they don’t know well, or at all, in new environments.
And they are typically less cautious with their personal information.
All that can add up to one big problem–identity theft.
So said Nimasheema Burns, outreach specialist in the N.C. Attorney General’s Office, during a visit to Cape Fear Community College on Thursday. Along with N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper, Burns and a team of experts stopped by the downtown Wilmington campus as part of the College Cash and Credit Tour.
Cooper said he and his staff kicked off the tour–which has included stops at High Point University, Shaw University and Queens University–in September.
The purpose of the tour is to ensure college students are prepared, not just for the workforce, but also for the financial issues they will face.
“We know more and more people graduate with more and more student loans,” Cooper noted.
In fact, Assistant Attorney General Matt Liles added, Americans currently have $1.3 trillion in student debt, and that figure is expected to double by 2025.
In North Carolina alone, 59 percent of college students graduate with debt. Twenty-three percent of CFCC graduates leave college with student loan debt.
Liles said the best way to avoid drowning in loan payments was to plan ahead.
“This stuff is manageable, but it is something you should think about now,” he said. “I think student debt is something to think about on the front end.”
And that wasn’t all students needed to think about, Burns added.
Burns told students a startling reality–the likelihood that someone in the 18-28 age range will fall victim to identity theft is one in five. But, she said, there were ways to protect yourself.
Taking simple steps–like limiting public Wi-Fi use and logging out whenever you aren’t at your computer–can help prevent identity theft.
Speakers in the College Cash and Credit Tour also tackled topics such as credit cards, managing credit reports and budgeting. The next stop on the tour is UNC-Pembroke.
Hilary Snow is a reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at (910) 772-6341 or email@example.com.