As the Internet plays a larger role in the lives of students, protecting personal information becomes more important.
Identity thieves can steal credit cards and ruin financial records, and two offices on campus are working to protect students by making it harder for thieves to steal Social Security numbers.
The University ID and Vending Office is allowing students to protect themselves by obtaining a new student identification card without the Social Security number displayed, while the Registrar’s Office allows students to obtain a new Personal Identification number, or PID, to use instead of a Social Security number.
The new ID cards being issued by the University ID and Vending Office have a zero in the upper right corner where the older cards have the student’s Social Security number. They are otherwise identical to the old cards.
It is estimated that replacing the cards will cost CSU approximately $5,000 to $10,000.
“We believe the benefits far outweigh the costs,” said Richard Wagner, director of the University ID and Vending Office. “Any student that has a visible Social Security number can get a new ID.”
Getting a new card takes about two minutes, and is free as long as students have their old identification cards.
Students interested in getting an identification card without a displayed Social Security number should visit the University ID and Vending Office in the Lory Student Center.
Wagner suggests that all CSU students should get new ID cards.
“This week and next week would be a good time to come in,” he said.
Students who are deeply concerned with identity theft have the option of visiting the registrar’s office and receiving a new number to use as a PID. However, William Haid, executive director of Enrollment Services, sees this as an unnecessary step.
“There’s a lot of attention to identity theft,” Haid said. “The number that they use is still secure.”
Many CSU students have not taken advantage of these protections against identity theft.
Very few students have chosen to use a number other than a Social Security number as a PID, and while many faculty members have been in to get new cards, students have been less responsive.
“I probably should be (afraid of identity theft),” said Daniel Roa, a senior computer science major. Roa will not be getting one of the new ID cards, however. “If someone really wanted (my social security number), they could get it some other way.”