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Identity Theft

Identity Theft is the illegal obtainment and fraudulent use of someone else’s personal information (e.g. credit card numbers and other financial information; social security number; name, date of birth; etc.)  Typically, identify theft is used by criminals for some degree of financial gain.

Identity theft can have devastating and long-term consequences and it is not uncommon for victims of identity theft to not know that their identity has been stolen until months or even years after the initial theft.

Thieves can get your information in various ways:

  • Stolen mail
  • Stolen wallet, purse, or other items containing personal information
  • Phishing scams
  • Dumpster diving
  • ATM, telephone, and computer “shoulder surfing”
  • Skimming of credit card/financial information

 


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has created a three-part program related to identity theft:

 

  • Deter - Safeguard your information
  • Detect - Actively and routinely monitor your accounts
  • Defend - Respond to the theft immediately

Visit the FTC’s official Identity Theft page for detailed information and for assistance with dealing with identity theft.

Deter

  • Never carry items like your SSN card with you unless absolutely necessary
  • Never disclose your SSN or personal/financial information unless absolutely necessary
  • Store sensitive information in secure locations (e.g. safe; safe deposit box)
  • Be wary of email attachments
  • Utilize complex passwords for accounts
  • Keep the operating system on your computer up-to-date with recent patches
  • Lock your computer when it is unattended (this is a requirement for University employees)
  • Protect your computer and devices with Anti-Virus and Malware protection.
  • Shred sensitive documents (any financial documents or documents containing personal information) before discarding them

Detect

  • Request and scrutinize your 3-in-1 annual credit report (Find out more about your free Credit Report)
  • Periodically check your DMV, social security, and personal accounts for suspicious activity.
  • Sign up for fraud monitoring
  • Be on the alert for mail or bills that do not arrive
  • Be suspicious of unexpected credit denials

Defend

  • If you suspect that your identity has been compromised:
    • Employees call: 252-334-2012
    • Students call: 252-334-2073
  • At any time, place a 90-day Fraud Alert on your credit report by calling any of the organizations listed below:
    • Equifax - 800-525-6285
    • Experian - 800-397-3742
    • TransUnion - 800-680-7289
    • SSN-Fraud - 800-269-0271
  • Close accounts that have been tampered
  • File an official police report in the jurisdiction in which the identity theft took place
  • File a complaint with the FTC
    • Online: Online Complaint Form
    • By phone: 1-877-ID-THEFT
    • By mail: 
Identity Theft Clearinghouse 
Federal Trade Commission 
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, 
NW Washington, DC 20580