The College is in the process of issuing new ID cards to all students, faculty and staff in an effort to protect cardholders’ Social Security Numbers (SSN) from identity theft.
The new cards, called GetIt cards, are part of the College’s major project to remove SSN as an identifier on campus.
“Although we have never had a problem with identity theft on campus, we are trying to be proactive in this,” Jeff Kerswill, director of user support services, said.
Each student’s SSN was embedded on the magnetic strip of the old card, but with the new cards, cardholders only need to use the randomly generated 16-digit number located on the front of their card.
Brittany Symons, sophomore nursing major, said she was hesitant to use her old card at off campus locations because her SSN was embedded on it.
“Last year, I used my card for paying for gas because my card was usually my only form of money,” Symons said. “I didn’t really eat out a lot, but when I found out that my Social Security Number could be found from using my card, I actually stopped using it off campus altogether.”
SSN had long been used to verify that the person using the card really was the person he or she claimed to be.
“Social security numbers were a driver in identifying students for financial aid, so we had to find alternative ways to identify students,” Jamie Hightower, director of student financial assistance, said.
Information Technology and Student Financial Services worked together to create an alternative identification method, which became the student identification numbers distributed two years ago. This was the College’s first step toward protecting students against identity theft.
Last year, the College made the next step by stopping outside vendors from asking for SSN when cardholders used the card at off-campus locations.
The new cards are the final step in ensuring students’ safety against identity theft.
With the GetIt card, students have a variety of uses, including over 25 off-campus vendors and a number of places on campus , such as the bookstore, health services, dining halls, the library and telecommunications.
The GetIt card has the ability to include even more features in the future.
“Jeff (Kerswill) and I had a conversation about how more schools are moving toward dispersing financial aid refunds right onto students’ ID cards and being about to use that card somewhat like a debit card,” Hightower said. “We are working on a project plan in order to move in that direction as well.”
“I like the new card because of the fact that my social security number isn’t on it,” Symons said. “I also like using it as a credit card at certain places, but I don’t like the appearance of the new cards because I feel like if I dropped it, it wouldn’t be as noticeable as the yellow ones.”
In the event that the card is lost or stolen, students should contact the online card office at tcnj.edu/idcard immediately.
All students are required to switch to the new card by Oct. 31. Every Wednesday from Sept. 14 to Oct. 26, cardholders also can get new photographs taken at no charge.
Cardholders who want to keep their old card may do so by bringing it with them when they get their new card to have it deactivated. However, there is a $10 fee for not handing in an old card.
There are other benefits besides saving $10 for those who turn their cards in.
“When you turn your old card in, you are entered into drawings for an iPod Shuffle and various other prizes from outside vendors,” Kerswill said.
For more information about the GetIt card and its uses, to check your card’s balance, or to report lost or stolen cards, visit tcnj.edu/idcard.