What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is a situation in which someone pretends to be someone else by assuming that person's identity, usually as a method to gain access to resources or obtain credit and other benefits in that person's name. The victim of identity theft can suffer adverse consequences if they are held responsible for the perpetrator's actions. Identity thieves may obtain this information by tricking you over the phone, email or social networking sites, or they may try and look for personal information in documents that had not been properly disposed of. You might not noticed that you have been a victim at first, but always be cautious with unknown purchases or attempts of purchasing items.
If You Believe Your Identity Has Been Stolen:
You can visit the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) identity theft page to find out more information about what to do in multiple scenarios of identity theft while also learning how to protect your identity in the future. You can also report identity theft to IdentityTheft.GOV or by phone at 1-877-438-4338.
How to Prevent Identity Theft
- Shred all papers with personally identifiable information (PII) and account information
- Protect your Social Security Number (SSN)
- Never carry your Social Security Card on your person
- Never give out your SSN without verifying who is requesting it and what they need it for
- Protect your Kent State ID number
- Always sign out of your account(s), especially on public and lab computers
- Secure all of your online accounts with strong, unique passwords. Learn more about password best practices
- Secure your personal computer with a firewall and antivirus
- Use strong encryption on your home network such as WPA2
- Be careful what you share on social media--do not share personal details such as birthday, name of school, pet's name, your location, etc.
- Avoid saving your credit card information to your browser on any device.
- Always verify the identity of those who are asking for sensitive information before you release it
- In general, emails sent are not encrypted or secure. Take care not to divulge sensitive information on an unsecure connection.
- Always make sure a website is secured with https:// before entering personal information such as username, password, credit card number, etc.
- Do not reveal information that could possibly lead to someone being able to answer security questions for your account(s)
- Always review your financial statements and reports, including your credit report, bank statement, credit statements, and any other financial statements
- Remember that mobile phones may not always secure your conversation and do not divulge sensitive information where people could hear you
- Take care not to display sensitive information on your screen when in a public place where somebody could easily read information over your shoulder. This is known as shoulder surfing
- Pay careful attention when clicking the "Reply All" button to make sure that you are not sending sensitive information to undesired recipients
- You can visit the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) page to find out more information about how to prevent identity fraud