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College Consumers

Information about assistance for student borrowers during the COVID-19 pandemic is available here.

For college students, taking the time to learn how to be a smarter consumer now can pay off for years to come.  Learn how to manage student loan debt and avoid repayment scams. Find out how you can use credit and debit cards wisely.  And learn how to reduce your risk of identity theft, both online and offline.

Credit & Debit Cards

Check out credit cards carefully.

Compare annual interest rates (APR) and fees to find the card that’s best for you. Using a credit card wisely and paying it off on time each month can help you build good credit, while overspending and missing payments will harm your credit.

Beware of overdraft fees.

Debit cards are convenient, but if you spend more money than is in your account, you can be hit with high fees. Check your balance regularly and compare overdraft options to find the best account for you.

For more information on credit cards and debit cards:

Identity Theft

Check your credit report.

You can get one free credit report per year from each of the three credit reporting bureaus. Use your free reports to check your credit every four months and report any activity that isn’t yours.

Protect your personal information.

Don’t share your Social Security Number, account numbers or other details with anyone you don’t know who contacts you. Keep financial info in a safe place, even in your dorm or apartment, and shred any financial records you don’t need.

Consider a free security freeze.

To keep criminals from opening new accounts in your name, freeze your credit for free online.

For more information:

Online Privacy

Use Wi-Fi wisely.

Limit activity on public Wi-Fi to surfing only, not checking your bank account or making purchases. Ask an employee to make sure you connect to the correct Wi-F network instead of falling for a copycat. Keep anti-virus software up-to-date and consider using two-step authentication for online accounts.

Think carefully about what you share online.

Sharing too much personal information can leave you vulnerable to hackers, scammers and other criminals. Remember that future employers and graduate schools may also consider social media activity when making hiring and admissions decisions.

For more information:

We Can Help

If you have a complaint about a student loan repayment scam, fear you’ve been a victim of identity theft, or spot a potential scam or bad business practice, file a complaint or call us toll free within North Carolina at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.