Identity theft is a growing crime in the United States. At FSU COM, we hope to provide useful information on Identity Theft in order to protect our students from this horrific crime. The information below is meant to inform you and help you, not to scare you.*
Identity theft is a crime in which the imposter obtains key pieces of information such as Social Security and driver's license numbers to obtain credit, merchandise, and services in the name of the victim. The victim is left with a ruined credit history and the time-consuming and complicated task of regaining financial health. The imposter may even use the victim's good name for criminal activities.
To decrease risk of identity theft, the Identity Theft Resource Center in San Diego, CA recommends that you:
- Cross-cut shred sensitive papers before they go in the trash. This includes pre-approved credit card offers, checks, insurance benefit statements, bills, statements, anything with barcodes.
- Guard your Social Security Number - don't carry it and resist giving it out unless necessary (your health club and your vet really don't need your SSN!). Don't put SSN on checks.
- Order your free annual credit reports on-line at: www.annualcreditreport.com
- Block your name from pre-approved credit card lists - 888-5OPTOUT
- Guard your personal information. Carry as little as possible in your wallet. Get credit cards with your picture on them. Be alert to shoulder surfers listening for information. Cancel credit cards you no longer use.
- Use firewall software to protect your computer. Watch out for internet scams.
Important Victim/Consumer Resources and Internet Links
- Identity Theft Resource Center
Phone: (888) 400-5530
- Federal Trade Commission
* The above information was taken from the Identity Theft Resource Center presentation at the 2003 Access Group, Inc. conference in Orlando, Florida.