Resources & Strategies
Identity theft has been the number one consumer complaint registered with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) since 1999. In our modern digital world, the interconnection of electronic resources has made it easier for criminals to steal identities using fewer and fewer pieces of information. The following information is provided to members of the university community to draw attention to the risk of identity theft and to aid in preventing and monitoring identity theft.
To prevent identity theft, the Federal Department of Justice recommends the following actions:
Avoid giving out personal information. In particular, be stingy about providing your Social Security number, credit card numbers, mother's maiden name, or telephone numbers. If asked for any of these pieces of information, ask why they are being requested and, when possible, refuse to provide them.
Check your financial information regularly. Reading your credit card statement every month will allow you to quickly recognize unusual charges or expenses.
Obtain a copy of your credit report annually. Your credit report will list all your accounts and loans and will enable you to discover any misuse of your name or credit.
Maintain a careful and detailed set of financial records. This will not only permit you to review your credit report quickly, but will be quite valuable should you become the victim of identity theft.
One of the best overviews of identity theft that includes both preventive information as well as effective advice to recover from identity theft can be found online.
Extensive information on identity theft is available. Two resources that are particularly useful are:
If you are a victim of identity theft, the FTC's site is excellent. The Privacy Right's Clearinghouse offers information on identity theft.