Identity theft occurs when someone uses your name, Social Security number, credit card number or other personal information to commit fraud or other crimes.
Here are some ways to protect yourself:
U-M Identity Theft Prevention Program
The U-M Identity Theft Prevention Program is designed to detect, prevent and mitigate identify theft in connection with the opening of a covered account or any existing covered accounts within the university's UM-Ann Arbor, UM-Flint and UM-Dearborn campuses.
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Monitor Your Credit
Set up alerts for your credit card(s) and bank accounts
These alerts will send you an email or text message when money is spent above certain thresholds or your account has been used without the card present.
Protect Your 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.
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.
Consider a free credit freeze if you aren't applying for new credit
You can ask for a free credit freeze beginning in September 2018. A credit freeze means that no one can view your credit records, making it harder to steal your information or open new accounts in your name. You need to consider that this also means that you will need to ask for the freeze to be lifted before applying for new credit, or doing business that might rely on someone checking your credit (for example, before applying for a car loan, being approved by a new landlord, or getting some types of insurance). The Federal Trade Commission maintains a list of credit bureau contacts if you need to request a freeze.
Protect Your Privacy
Beware of phishing scams
These scams are designed to lure you into submitting personal information online or clicking suspicious attachments. Legitimate companies don't request sensitive information via email. If in doubt, call the company's customer service center.
If You Suspect Your Identity Has Been Compromised
Place an initial fraud alert on your credit report
Review your credit report, credit card statements, and other financial 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 such as new accounts you did not open or purchases you didn't make.
Consider putting a credit freeze on your account
Also known as a security freeze, this restricts access to your credit report. It makes it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name because potential creditors would not be able to see your credit report. It also means that you would need to lift the freeze temporarily if you want to apply for credit or to allow someone (such as a potential landlord) to see your credit report. For more information, refer to Credit Freeze FAQs.
Report identity theft to the federal government and get a recovery plan
To report identity theft to the federal government and get a recovery plan, visit the Federal Trade Commission's IdentityTheft.gov website. This is the federal government’s one-stop resource for identity theft victims. The site provides streamlined checklists and sample letters to guide you through the recovery process.
If you find your personal information has been used to commit fraud, file a report with your local police department
This will allow you to send a copy of the Identity Theft Report to creditors that require evidence that you allege a crime has occurred. You will also be able to place an extended fraud alert or a credit freeze on your credit line. Learn more at FTC Extended Fraud Alerts and Credit Freezes.