Protect Yourself from Identity Theft
|Protect Yourself from Identity Theft|
Based on material furnished by EDUCAUSE.
This site contains information on how to protect yourself from identity theft as well as what to do to if your personal information becomes exposed or if you actually become a victim of identity theft. Links to additional information can be found under the Resources.
What is Identify Theft?
Identity theft occurs when someone uses another person's personal information such as name, Social Security number, driver's license number, credit card number or other identifying information to take on that person's identity in order to commit fraud or other crimes.
How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft
The following tips can help lower your risk of becoming a victim of identity theft.
Steps to Take if Your Data Becomes Compromised or Stolen
When you become aware of an identity breach, it's important to immediately close any accounts that were opened in your name as soon as possible. Also, check on your legitimate accounts to make sure that details like mailing addresses have not been changed by someone else.
Credit Reporting Agencies
If you have reason to believe your personal information has been compromised or stolen, contact the Fraud Department of one of the three major credit bureaus listed below.
SSA Fraud Hotline: 800-269-0271
If you are the victim of a stolen Social Security number, the SSA can provide information on how to report the fraudulent use of your number and how to correct your earnings record. We encourage you to contact the Fraud Hotline immediately once you suspect identity theft.
The website also provides tips on using and securing your Social Security number. Visit the SSA website for advice on keeping your number safe.
ID Theft Clearinghouse
Call the ID Theft Clearinghouse toll free at to report identity theft. Counselors will take your complaint and advise you how to deal with the credit-related problems that could result from identity theft.
Local Law Enforcement
It is important that you report identity theft to your local police department as soon as you become aware that you are a victim. Get a copy of the police report which will assist you when notifying creditors, credit reporting agencies and if necessary, the Social Security Administration (SSA).
What to Do if Someone Has Already Filed Taxes Using Your Social Security Number
Reporting Security Problems
Send reports of security incidents, attacks, or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org