Security Awareness

Preventing Identity Theft

There are certain steps everyone should follow to ensure their digital identity is properly safeguarded.

  • Use a strong password
  • 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)
  • Log into and make sure you have answers to your challenge questions that are known ONLY to you, and not easily guessable.
  • Apply updates regularly to your operating system (Windows, Mac, Linux) and web browsers
  • 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.

Microsoft Security Essentials 
Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition (recommended for Mac users)

What to Do If Your Identity is Stolen

When your identity is stolen, there are usually certain goals the person who stole it hopes to achieve: 

  • They are looking for monetary gain, in the form of credit taken out in your name
  • They want to impersonate you, and misuse access that you have to steal additional information
  • They want to harass you or ruin your reputation

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.

Reset all passwords AND challenge questions:

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 ( 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.

Place a Fraud Alert on your credit report:

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.

TransUnion, 1-800-916-8800
Experian, 1-888-EXPERIAN (888-397-3742)
Equifax, 1-800-685-1111 -- select option 4

Additional Resources:

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
Phone: 330-672-5566
Fax: 330-672-3253