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Home > Prevention

Identity Theft

Being a student does not safeguard you against identity theft. As a student, you may even be more vulnerable to identity theft because of the availability of your personal data. Identity thieves don't steal your money; they steal your name and reputation and use them for their own financial gain. They attempt to steal your future!

In today's electronic age, ID thieves can easily, and sometimes legally, tap into your personal information with just a click of the computer mouse. A few bits of personal data are a gold mine for information crooks looking to steal your identity. An impostor using personal information like your address, birth date, Social Security or credit card number, can acquire phony credit cards, private phone lines, siphon money from your checking or savings account, get a mortgage and even give you a criminal record.

Identity thieves may rummage through trash searching for discarded account statements, pre-approved credit card offers or credit receipts; search public records for your address, and even rob your mailbox. Thieves use this knowledge to obtain credit cards, get wireless or phone products and services, obtain loans and mortgages, get a job, and commit other types of fraudulent or even criminal acts, in your name, leaving you responsible for the consequences.

Although you are a victim, you must take action to ensure your continued personal security. Many times, you will not be held responsible for monetary losses, but you are responsible for reporting the theft/fraud to several agencies. Call the University of Minnesota Community Investigator Division at 612-624-COPS if you have any questions.

If the following items have been stolen:

  • Identification
  • Social Security Card
  • Birth Certificate
  • Passport

Immediately call the fraud units of the three major credit bureaus:

Verbally, and later in writing, ask that your account be flagged. In addition, ask how long the fraud alert will be placed on your account and how that length of time can be extended if necessary. Be aware that taking this step may not entirely prevent fraudulent accounts from being opened. Ask each credit bureau to:

  1. Provide free copies of your account every few months so that you can monitor your credit history.
  2. Provide names and phone numbers of credit grantors with whom fraudulent accounts under your name have been opened.
  3. Remove credit inquiries that have been generated due to fraudulent access of your accounts.

Other resources for advice and information:

Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

Consumers in Minnesota can order free one credit reports every 12 months from (www.annualcreditreport.com). A credit report contains information on where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you’ve been sued, arrested or filed for bankruptcy. If you suspect your credit has been affected by fraud, use this site to obtain a credit report or contact the three major credit bureaus listed above.

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I want to know

What should I do if my social security card is lost or stolen?

What should I do if someone has stolen my identity to get a new credit card?

What should I do if my keys are lost or stolen?

How do criminals choose which cars to break into?

What do thieves do with the property they steal?

What are criminals looking for in University buildings?

What do I do after reporting a crime?

Click here for more questions about identity theft!

 

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Identity Theft Brochure

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Last Modified: March 9, 2012
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