Identity Theft

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.

Order a free credit report

Order a free credit report at, and beware of imposter credit report websites.

For more information, see the Federal Trade Commission's Free Credit Reports page.

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.

Don't store passwords, credit card numbers, or other personal information electronically

 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.

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

Protect your privacy online and when using social media

Always use a secure internet connection

For secure wireless while on campus, use MWireless. If using guest or public wireless networks, always use a VPN.

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

Contact any one of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies listed below (they will contact the others) to place a free 90-day fraud alert. Fraud alerts can be renewed.

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
  • 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 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.

Complete and submit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Identity Theft Affidavit, Form 14039

The FTC's website allows you to file IRS Form 14039 online when you report identity theft. Or you can download Form 14039 in PDF format for filing.

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.