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Information Technology Services Help Desk
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Last Updated: 18-Jun-2009
Information Technology Services
Information Technology Services: ID Theft Protection

Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft

  • Never disclose any personal information unless you initiate the contact.
  • Put a password on your credit card accounts.
    Use a password that is different from your mother's maiden name. Your mother's maiden name can be found on your credit report, and other people can obtain a copy of this report just by saying you are going to rent some property from them.
  • Keep your numbers to yourself.
    Don't put credit card numbers on checks or envelopes. Don't give account numbers over the phone unless you made the call. Always tear up or shred pre-approved credit card applications & balance transfer checks before throwing them away.
  • Check your statements.
    Check your billing statements each month for fraudulent charges and report them immediately. Every line should be recognizable; if it is not, call your credit-card company to find out what a particular charge is for and where it was charged. Tell your company to freeze your card account if there is any question of its having been compromised. Write down the details of every conversation with the credit-card company employees (date, time, name of employee, case number) in case you need evidence to clear your own name.

    If you do not receive your statement on time, someone may be using a fraudulent change of address. Call the creditor first and then the post office to see if a change of address has been filed in your name.
  • Ask for your FREE annual credit report.
    Under federal law you are entitled to a yearly free credit report from each of the three main credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Ask for a copy of your credit report once a year from to check for changed addresses and fraudulent account information. is THE official site to help consumers to obtain their free credit report. Unless you’ve had your identity stolen in the past 2 years, there is no need to purchase automatic credit monitoring services if you obtain your free copies every year. Space out your requests by getting one report every 4 months. (Example: Equifax in January, Experian in April, Transunion in August)
  • Never e-mail personal or financial information.
    E-mail is not a secure method of transmitting personal information.
  • Always conduct online transactions using a Web browser that has all current security patches and on a secure website
  • Never perform online transactions on public computers. Like Internet cafes, wireless networks, lab computers.
  • Always use strong passwords or pass phrases that contain a combination of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, and special characters. And the longer the better!
  • Don’t let your browser be “helpful” by remembering passwords and other private information. If your computer gets compromised, they get all this information.
  • Be cautious about opening any attachment or downloading any files from e-mails you receive, regardless of who appears to have sent them.
  • Shred anything containing personal information before throwing away. Shred all billing statements, ATM receipts, bank statements and anything with an imprint of your credit card number, prescreened credit card or loan offers, and anything containing personal information before throwing them away.
  • Don't put your Social Security number on checks and don't carry the card with you.

What should I do if think I may be or am an ID theft victim?


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Return to ID Theft

Did you know?
Phishing isn’t they only way thieves get your personal information.
 •  Dumpster diving
 •  Skimming - typically an "inside job" by a dishonest employee of a legitimate merchant. The thief can procure a victim’s credit card number using basic methods such as photocopying receipts or more advanced methods such as using a small electronic device (skimmer) to swipe and store victim’s credit card numbers. Don't let your credit card out of your sight.
 •  Changing your address - they divert your billing statements to another location by completing a change of address form.
 •  Plain old stealing - They steal wallets and purses; mail, including bank and credit card statements; pre-approved credit offers; and new checks or tax information. They steal personnel records, or bribe employees who have access.
 •  Pretexting - Pretexting is the act of creating and using an invented scenario (the pretext) to persuade you to give them information or perform an action and is usually done over the telephone. impersonate co-workers, police, bank, tax authorities or insurance investigators — or any other individual who could have perceived authority or right-to-know in the mind of the target.
FTC ID Theft Web Site
Federal Trade Commissions ID Theft website
Report Security Incidents
Report stolen devices (laptops, PDAs, etc) and suspected computer break-ins to ITS immediately. The sooner we know about an incident, the sooner we can respond, potentially limiting any damage.
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