Identity Theft and Fraud FAQ
What is Identity Theft?
How can I protect myself from Identity Theft?
How do I know if my identity has been stolen and misused?
How do I get a free copy of my credit report and how often can I do it?
I'm a victim of Identity Theft, what do I do now?
How do I contact the credit reporting agencies to report fraud?
What is a Fraud Alert and how long does it last?
What is UNL doing to protect private student data?
Where can I find out more about Identity Theft?
Identity Theft is when someone illicitly obtains personal information about someone else for the purposes of impersonating them. This is often done for financial gain by creating debt for the victim, but can also be used to commit crimes using the assumed identity.
- Don't carelessly give out personal information, including Social Security numbers, bank account or credit card numbers or PINs, usernames, passwords or other items that should remain confidential. If someone contacts you asking for such information, be very careful. Legitimate companies will rarely ask for this kind of information when contacting you, either by mail, telephone or email. Also, a type of email spam called "phishing" has become more common, trying to trick victims into following a link to a forged website to enter account information. This is frequently seen targeting customers of banks and online merchants such as Amazon and Ebay. If you're uncertain about the email, don't follow the link, and log into the company's website normally instead.
- Destroy unwanted documents that contain personal information before throwing it away. "Dumpster-diving" is a common way for identity thieves to get information, in the form of discarded "Pre-Approved" credit card applications, bank statements, credit card receipts or other sensitive documents.
- Check your bank and credit account statements regularly for unexpected charges or changes.
- Check your credit report regularly for any unexpected changes.
Checking your credit report for unexpected changes is probably the most reliable way to detect Identity Theft. If accounts that you are unaware of show up in the credit report, be sure to check them out.
You can get a free copy of a credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies once per year. You can get all three reports at the same time, or request one from one agency, then request one from another agency at a different time. There are three ways to request a report:
Web - https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp
Telephone - 1-877-322-8228
Mail - Print and fill out the request form at from the website: https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
- Notify the security departments of any involved creditors or financial institutions, and close any accounts that were opened fraudulently.
- Contact the fraud departments of the three major credit reporting agencies and request that one of them place a "Fraud Alert" in your credit file. Once one receives a Fraud Alert request, it will forward the request to the other two agencies.
- File a police report with local police or with police in the community where the fraud took place.
- Report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission by filing a complaint at http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft/
Phone: 1-800-525-6285 (to report fraud only)
Mail: P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
Phone: 1-888-EXPERIAN (1-888-397-3742)
Mail: P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013
Mail: Fraud Victim Assistance Division
P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
A Fraud Alert is a flag that the credit reporting agencies put in your file to instruct creditors to take extra precautions when opening accounts or issuing credit, such as additional verification of your identity. This can potentially slow down the credit application process somewhat, but can protect your credit.
There are two types of Fraud Alerts:
- An initial alert lasts for 90 days
- An extended alert lasts for seven years. In addition, you are automatically removed from marketing lists for "pre-screened" or "pre-approved" credit accounts.
UNL takes the privacy of its students, faculty and staff very seriously. Over the past three years, UNL has gone through a process of replacing Social Security numbers with the NU-ID numbers as the primary student ID number, and is continually taking steps to reduce the number of areas where confidential information is stored and used.
Federal Trade Commission's ID Theft page - http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft/
US Dept. of Education ID misuse page - http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oig/misused/index.html?src=rt
Identity Theft Resource Center - http://www.idtheftcenter.org