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ITS Safe Computing

Protect Your Identity

Identity theft occurs when someone uses your name, Social Security number, credit card number or other personal information without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes.

Tips for Preventing Identity Theft

  • Monitor Your Credit

    • Set up alerts for your credit card(s) and bank accounts that send you an email or text message when money is spent above certain thresholds or your account has been used without the card present.
    • Order a free credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com, and beware of imposter credit report websites. For more information, see the Federal Trade Commission's Free Credit Reports page.
  • Protect Credit Card and Financial Information

    • Only enter credit card information on secure websites. Web addresses that begin with https and that have a lock icon in the address bar are secured with encryption software to protect your information.
    • Don't store passwords, credit card numbers, or other personal information on websites, your computer, or mobile device. If you do, use an encryption program to protect them. Store passwords in a password manager.
    • Consider using one credit card exclusively for shopping online. That way you can monitor all online purchases on one statement, and keep another card for face-to-face transactions.
  • Protect Your Privacy

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If You Suspect Your Identity Has Been Compromised or Stolen

Take these steps now and in the future to detect fraud or identity theft committed using your personal information.

  1. Place an initial fraud alert on your credit report. Contact any one of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies listed below. The alert will stay on your credit reports for 90 days, and can be renewed. This is a free service. You need to contact only one company. The company you contact is required to contact the other two.

  2. Carefully review your credit report, credit card statements, and other personal financial account information for suspicious activity.
    • You can request a free credit report from each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting agencies (listed above) per 12-month period. The easiest way to get free copies of your credit report is to visit AnnualCreditReport.com.
    • Look for suspicious activity as soon as you suspect your identity has been stolen, and on an ongoing basis. Examples of suspicious activity are new accounts you did not open or purchases you did not make. This does not include incorrect personal information, which might appear on the report in error. Close accounts that you believe have been tampered with.

  3. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). For step-by-step instructions and contact information, see the FTC's identity theft page. For additional information, see the FTC consumer information on identity theft.

  4. Complete and submit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Identity Theft Affidavit, Form 14039 (PDF). For additional information, see Identity Protection: Prevention, Detection and Victim Assistance.

  5. File a report with your local police department if you find your personal information has been used to commit fraud. This will allow you to send a copy of the report to creditors that require evidence that you allege a crime has occurred.

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If You Suspect Your Account Has Been Compromised

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Additional Resources

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