Our View: Identity crisis


If Ball State student Kara Catanzarite can have her identity stolen, we all can have our identity stolen - if we're not careful, that is.

Catanzarite, a senior, recently received a series of charges amounting to over $5,000 for cell phones she did not purchase or use. A collection agency eventually went after her.

"I was frustrated and angry," Catanzarite said. "It was the first week of classes and I was wondering why I should have to waste my time with this."

According to Indiana State Police Sergeant Rod Russell, more than 500,000 people become victims of identity fraud each year. Russell said that identity theft can occur anywhere - from a hospital to a grocery store.

What's worse, the victim may not find out until months after the information is obtained, and it could take years to clear matters.

Consider that on campus, students' Social Security numbers are constantly being given out. The number is printed on your BSU ID as your ID number, in most cases. In addition to that, how often do you give out your Social Security number and not think about it?

At the beginning of every school year, students line up to apply for credit cards and get free items for doing so. Students rattle off their Social Security numbers (commonly used as Ball State ID numbers) in offices all over campus or on the phone.

According to Russell, all someone needs to steal an identity is another person's birthdate, Social Security number and proof of established credit.

Use common sense with your identification, especially your Social Security number. When giving it out, be aware of people around you who can overhear it or see it written down. Be careful with your identification, or someone else can become you at your expense.


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