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Sallie Mae survey shows most customers take measures to guard against identity theft


RESTON, Va.—For the majority of customers, paper-shredding is the method of choice for guarding against identity theft, according to a new survey by Sallie Mae, the nation’s leading saving- and paying-for-college company.

The new report surveys Sallie Mae customers who have entered repayment, as part of a corporate effort to educate customers on fiscal responsibility and sound debt management. Of the more than 2,000 respondents, nearly half (47 percent) reported shredding personal bills and documents containing private information in order to protect themselves against identity theft. One-fourth of respondents said they refrained from giving out their social security number in order to protect personal information. Twenty-three percent said they check their credit report frequently for unauthorized activity, and 2 percent said they avoid making credit card purchases online. Only 4 percent of respondents said they do not take any special precautions to prevent identity theft.

“Consumers generally make an effort to protect their personal property—such as wallets, cars and valuables—against theft,” said Martha Holler, spokeswoman, Sallie Mae. “It is critically important that consumers guard against identity theft in the same way and make wise choices to protect their personal information and finances.”

There are several ways consumers can protect themselves, Holler added: “When someone steals your identity, your finances and your credit score are at risk. Taking steps to avoid identity theft is much easier than repairing damage to your identity and finances. Be sure to guard your social security number, pick your online passwords carefully, pay attention to your mail and be cautious about what type of information you put in the trash. It is also important to review your credit reports at least once a year for unauthorized activity.” Holler advises consumers to use common sense and take immediate action if they suspect identity theft.

The survey, conducted online at during February 2007, is part of a monthly survey series on a variety of debt management-related topics.

For more information contact:
Erica Eriksdotter (703) 984-5628


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