Office to give identity theft, financial lessons

With the increasing popularity of such Internet Web sites as, Bearkat OneCard director Kristy Vienne said students often do not think about what kinds of adverse effects having personal information on their profiles can lead to.

“People don’t realize that when they put (personal information) on Facebook and all those places like that, other people can go out and steal their identity and, better yet, their credit,” she said. “Students put so much of their information out there, like where they work, what their address is and various things that make them more susceptible to that type of behavior.

“The more that students are starting to post things like that on the Internet, they’re starting to become victims because of that information,” Vienne said. “Normally students don’t have as much assets to lose as other people, but they have credit card offers and that sort of thing that makes them more of a target.”

To help combat student risk for identity theft and teach students about the basics of financial responsibility, the Bearkat OneCard Office will host a “Financial Management and Identity Theft Seminar” on Tuesday, Feb. 21.

The discussion, which will be held from 5-6 p.m. in the Lowman Student Center Theatre, will include Vienne and Martina Kalu, who works at the First National Bank of Huntsville, leading a discussion on the importance of protecting not only students’ finances but also their name, with the identity theft being the most rapidly growing crime in the U.S., according to Vienne.

Fraudulent charges not only cost the average American $90,000 per name used, but the average victim loses an average 600 hours in trying to get it corrected, she said.

The discussion will also break down the basics of financial management to help students get a better understanding of such things as the different types of bank accounts, fund availability, the different credit bureaus and how to monitor credit.

“I think so many times students will go through their entire collegiate experience and never really have a true class on personal finance and money matters,” Vienne said. “We’re just trying to raise awareness so that people understand the importance of these types of classes and that they need to protect themselves before they fall victim to either bad credit or identity theft before they start to worry about it.”

Not only will students benefit from the lessons they take away from the program, but the student organization with the most participation will receive a $250 prize, pending attendance and membership verification, and one student will win an iPod in a door prize drawing.

The winning organization will be announced on Wednesday, Feb. 22

For more information, contact the Bearkat OneCard Office at (936) 294.2273.

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