One University of Memphis student had a not so great start to the new school year when his student ID card was stolen off a lunch tray in the University Center. Because the school ID card also had cashless payment functionality thieves were able to use the card to make purchases at multiple locations on campus. When the student went to sign up for a new ID card, he noticed the card had been used by someone other than him and contacted police. Using surveillance footage, police were able to identify and track down the culprits.

At AlphaCard, we talk a lot about the benefits of student ID cards. Now let’s discuss how to keep your student ID cards safe. Here are a few tips that will help you protect your school cards.

Don’t leave your card unattended. Know where your student ID card is at all times. Beyond providing basic identification, ID cards today are packed with additional functionality like cashless payment, access control for dorms and other campus buildings, class registration, equipment checkout, and more. Essentially, your student ID card is a gateway to many of the services and amenities your university offers. Wearing your ID card on a lanyard is a great way to easily keep track of your ID card’s whereabouts.

Have the card deactivated when you notice it missing. Because so many student ID cards function as access control cards to dorms and other campus buildings, it’s important to have your missing card deactivated to ensure that unauthorized people don’t gain access to campus facilities. Deactivating the card will also guarantee that your card’s account can’t be used.

Keep track of your card’s account balances. Most student ID cards at the college and university level also have debit card functionality. Being aware of your card activity will help you notice if anything is out of the ordinary. Some schools have policies that don’t refund money on student ID cards that are used fraudulently. You’ll want to know sooner rather than later if there’s fishy account activity going on.

Contact police if you suspect your card has been stolen. If you suspect that your ID card has been stolen, or notice unusual card activity, contact police immediately.