Identity Theft

Identity theft occurs when someone uses your name, Social Security number, credit card number or other personal information without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes.

How to Prevent Identity Theft

Expand All Content

Monitor Your Credit

Set up alerts for your credit card(s) and bank accounts

These alerts will send you an email or text message when money is spent above certain thresholds or your account has been used without the card present.

Order a free credit report

Order a free credit report at, and beware of imposter credit report websites.

For more information, see the Federal Trade Commission's Free Credit Reports page.

Protect Your Credit Card and Financial Information

Only enter credit card information on secure websites

Web addresses that begin with https and that have a lock icon in the address bar are secured with encryption software to protect your information.

Don't store passwords, credit card numbers, or other personal information electronically

 If you do, use an encryption program to protect them. Store passwords in a password manager.

Consider using one credit card exclusively for shopping online

That way you can monitor all online purchases on one statement, and keep another card for face-to-face transactions.

Protect Your Privacy

Protect your privacy online and when using social media
Always use a secure internet connection

For secure wireless while on campus, use MWireless. If using guest or public wireless networks, always use a VPN.

Beware of phishing scams

These scams are designed to lure you into submitting personal information online or clicking suspicious attachments. Legitimate companies don't request sensitive information via email. If in doubt, call the company's customer service center.

If You Suspect Your Identity Has Been Compromised

Place an initial fraud alert on your credit report

Contact any one of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies listed below (they will contact the others) to place a free 90-day fraud alert. Fraud alerts can be renewed.

Review your credit report, credit card statements, and other financial information for suspicious activity
  • You can request a free credit report from each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting agencies (listed above) per 12-month period. The easiest way to get free copies of your credit report is to visit
  • Examples of suspicious activity are new accounts you did not open or purchases you didn't make.
File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

For step-by-step instructions and contact information, see the FTC's identity theft page.

Complete and submit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Identity Theft Affidavit, Form 14039

Download Form 14039 in PDF format.

If you find your personal information has been used to commit fraud, file a report with your local police department

This will allow you to send a copy of the report to creditors that require evidence that you allege a crime has occurred.