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Home > Prevention > Identity Theft

Identity Theft Questions and Answers

> What should I do if my social security card is lost or stolen?
> What should I do if my checks or credit cards are lost or stolen?
> What should I do if my checks or cards were mailed to the wrong address?
> What should I do if my lost or stolen checks or cards have been used?
> What should I do if someone has stolen my identity to get new credit?
> What should I do if my keys are lost or stolen?
> What should I do if my driver’s license is stolen?
> What should I do if my U of MN U-card is 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?

 

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

Call the Social Security Administration FRAUD HOTLINE to notify them of the loss and get information on how to get a duplicate card.

SSA's Fraud Hotline 1-800-269-0271 (www.ssa.gov)

 

What should I do if my checks or credit cards are lost or stolen?

Notify your bank immediately. Then call the three credit reporting bureaus to report the loss and ask them to put a fraud alert on your account so no new credit will be issued without contacting you.

 

What should I do if I learn that my new checks or cards have been mailed to a different address?

Call the U.S. Postal Inspectors about mail being falsely forwarded.

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What should I do if my lost or stolen checks or cards have been used?

Contact the banks and/or businesses that accepted your checks or cards to notify them of the fraud and offer to sign any affidavits of forgery as needed. Encourage the banks and businesses to pursue charges against any suspects identified. The ONLY person who can make a forgery report is the person/business that accepted the forged check. The reason for this is that the only person who can identify the criminal who signed or passed the check is the person who actually accepted the document. The report(s) need to be made with the police department in the city or county where the forgery or theft occurred.

 

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

Call the police department and make an Identity Theft report. In Minnesota , Identity Theft (M.S.S. 609.572) becomes a crime only when any victim (person or business) suffers a monetary loss. Also, call the Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Hotline to notify them and get advice on how to proceed.

To report fraud to the FTC other that ID theft, call 1-877-382-4357.

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

Change or re-key whichever locks need to be changed for your protection.

 

What should I do if my driver’s license is stolen?

  1. Apply for a new License and complete a Confirmation of Identity Driving Record Flag with the MN Department of Public Safety – Driver and Vehicle Services
  2. Driver and Vehicle Services, 651-296-6911
    (www.dps.state.mn.us/dvs/index.html)

 

What should I do if my U of MN U-card is lost or stolen?

Notify the following:

  • U Card Office, 612-626-9900
    (www.umn.edu/ucard)
  • TCF Bank (if applicable), 612-823-2265 or 612-661-6985
    Outside the Twin Cities, 1-800-228-8892
  • C-COM, 1-800-990-0866

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How do criminals choose which cars to break into?

Criminals are frequently present when people park their cars. They observe shoulder movements of vehicle occupants as they reach in to glove compartments or place items under car seats. They also observe people placing items into trunks or other inconspicuous places. Criminals who are not present when people park their vehicles often casually walk close to a row of parked cars so that they can nonchalantly observe items that have been left inside.

Criminals know that their chance of successfully breaking into a car is highest when the vehicle’s occupants will be gone for a predictable length of time. When people leave their vehicles at popular venues, including University parking ramps and surface lots during class or sporting events, they increase their chance of being a victim of theft.

The most likely targets for theft from a vehicle? Anything in sight! It is best to always leave a totally empty car. Thieves frequently take radar detectors, phones, briefcases, purses, compact discs and cassettes, wallets, gym bags, jewelry, watches, and clothing. Placing a towel or blanket over any items does not prevent or discourage theft from a vehicle.

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What do thieves do with the property they steal?

Stolen items can be traded for drugs, sold to other thieves or to someone else "looking for a deal" or sold for cash at pawnshops. Within hours, and sometimes minutes of the theft of a wallet or purse, criminals may make purchases using stolen credit cards or checks. The identity of the victim may also be compromised through identity fraud.

By reporting suspicious activity, you may prevent yourself or someone else from being victimized. If you see or hear something that seems unusual or suspicious, try to safely obtain a physical and clothing description of the suspect. In addition, attempt to describe the vehicle and location as accurately as possible. CALL 9-1-1.

Call if you hear glass breaking, if you see someone looking into vehicles or ducking around them, or any other activity that just doesn’t look or feel right. Police prefer that you call them so that they can investigate suspicious activity. Remember: It is more desirable to be mistaken than for you or someone else to become a victim.

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What are criminals looking for in University buildings?

Most cases of theft on campus are opportunistic. Students leave bags with valuables in plain view and faculty tend to leave their offices unlocked, providing criminals an opportunity to discover valuables, identification, credit cards and cash in purses and wallets. Locking office doors when leaving, even for a short period of time, can prevent opportunistic thefts. Do not lose sight of your book bags and purses when you are in public spaces. Never keep Social Security cards or numbers inside wallets and purses. These numbers can be used in conjunction with other identification to apply for future credit in your name.

 

What do I do after reporting a crime?

A police officer may ask you to call back when you have located pertinent information like serial and model numbers on valuables. If these numbers aren't entered into a report, it is unlikely recovered valuables will be returned to you. If you needed to contact a credit bureau, follow up by checking your credit report every year to determine if you are now the victim of identity theft.

If you have additional information that pertains to your case, please call the University of Minnesota Police Department at 612-624-COPS (2677).

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Last Modified: March 9, 2012
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