Prevent Identity Theft
Why should you take actions to prevent identity theft? Because victims of identity theft may:
- Be arrested for crimes they didn't commit.
- Lose hundreds or even thousands of dollars to thieves and/or to fees for cleaning up financial records.
- Spend countless hours clearing personal records and restoring their identity.
- Be refused loans for housing or cars due to poor credit resulting from identity theft.
To help prevent identity theft:
- Order a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus - Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union. Make sure it's accurate and includes only those activities you've authorized. You can get one free report from each of these services per year.
- Don't respond to email, instant messages (IM), texts, phone calls, etc., asking you for your password. You should never disclose your password to anyone, even if they say they work for UCSC, ITS, other campus organizations, or companies of which you are a customer.
- Don't give personal or financial information to anyone you don't know or who doesn't have a legitimate need for it -- in person, over the phone, via email, IM, text, Facebook, Twitter, etc. These requests are often part of phishing scams, a form of fraud that uses messages that appear to be from a reputable business (often a financial institution) or someone you know in an attempt to gain personal or account information.
- Use hard-to-guess passwords for your credit card, bank, and phone accounts and keep them secret.
- Use known, trusted websites when you are logging in or providing information online. Don't log in or provide sensitive information to a web page you reached by clicking on a link -- in email, IM, text message, advertisements, Social Networks, search results, etc.
- When shopping online, make sure the site is secure by looking for "https" (not http) in the web address (URL) and a padlock icon in a corner of the page that asks you to input your password or personal information.
- Encrypt personal information or store it on portable media and lock it up securely.
- Lock up your computer with a cable. Secure laptop computers and mobile devices at all times: keep them with you or lock them up securely.
- Make sure a password is required to login or resume activity.
- Use a paper shredder when throwing out personal information.
- Protect others' information as if it were your own.
- See Identity Theft Resources if you believe you have been the victim of identity theft.
Rev. July 2011