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New guidance from the information commissioner could help students avoid identity theft at university.

Students returning to university are being urged to protect themselves from identity theft. The advice comes from the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), which warns students to safeguard their personal information, such as PINs and passwords, when signing up for services and societies.

A free guide, the ICO's Personal Information Toolkit, was issued on 17 August 2007. It aims to help students protect and manage their personal information with advice and tips on how to access the information that organisations hold about you, how to correct inaccurate information and how to reduce unwanted marketing calls and texts.

The ICO urges students never to disclose or write down personal passwords or PINs, sign up to the telephone preference service to prevent unsolicited marketing calls and make sure that people asking for personal information are genuine.

David Smith, deputy commissioner at the ICO, said: "Almost every day we give out our personal details, which can leave us open to identity theft, unwanted marketing and a loss of privacy.

"Students can be particularly vulnerable around this time of year. It can also be very irritating being pestered by unwanted marketing calls, text messages and junk mail, particularly if it involves unwittingly signing up for a service you are then charged for."

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

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