There are certain steps everyone should follow to ensure their digital identity is properly safeguarded.
Use a strong password. Check your password strength at:
Choose challenge questions which would be difficult for someone else to guess (Be cautious of using information you might have available through social networking sites like Facebook or MySpace)
Make sure your operating system (Windows, Mac, Linux) and web browsers have updates applied regularly
Use Anti-virus software and make sure the software is kept up-to-date on a regular schedule. Kent State University recommends that Students, Faculty and Staff download for free, Microsoft Security Essentials or Sophos Anti-Virus (Mac) software onto their personally owned computers.
When your identity is stolen, there are usually certain goals the person who stole it hopes to achieve:
It can be a lengthy and sometimes painful process to recover from a stolen identity, but there are certain things you can do which will minimize the damage, and speed up the process.
One of the most important things for minimizing the damage of a stolen identity, is to lock the bad guys out quickly. You should go to any online banking websites, credit card sites, and to FlashLine (flashline.kent.edu) and change both your passwords and your challenge questions.
It is very likely if someone is misusing your identity, they will have seen the answers to your challenge questions. The safest way to secure those, is to choose an answer to those questions you'll remember, but would be impossible to guess - make up the answer, nobody will be checking to see if you answered it truthfully.
Go to any of the three credit bureaus, and request a fraud alert to be placed on your report. The other two agencies will be notified automatically. This will ensure that creditors take extra precaution in verifying your identity, so they do not mistakenly issue credit to an imposter.
Here are some of the many resources out on the web which provide advice for taking back control of your identity.
This page is maintained by the Office of Security and Access Management