Eastern Michigan University
What is identity theft?
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal identifying information (your name, Social Security number, or credit card number) without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. The FTC estimates that as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year.
The crime takes many forms. Identity thieves may rent an apartment, obtain a credit card, or establish a telephone account in your name. You may not find out about the theft until you review your credit report or a credit card statement and notice charges you did not make—or until you are contacted by a debt collector.
Identity theft is serious. While some identity theft victims can resolve their problems quickly, others spend hundreds of dollars and many days repairing damage to their names and credit records.
How can I prevent identity theft?
The most important way to prevent identity theft is to be careful and aware on the internet. Always be suspicious of requests for identity information, even from a site that appears to be legitimate. For information on scams that are currently being seen at EMU, go to our scams page.
What can I do if my identity is stolen?
1. Alert your bank, credit card, and other loan agencies so that they can watch for suspicious activity and change account information. You need to obtain new credit cards and possibly new checks.
2. Monitor your credit rating for fraudulent loan applications and other suspicious activity. Placing a fraud alert on file with the credit monitoring agencies will prevent identity thieves from applying for new loans or accounts. It also entitles you to a free credit report from each of the credit agencies allowing you to review for suspicious activity.
TransUnion: 1.800.680.7289; www.transunion.com; Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
Equifax: 1.800.525.6285; www.equifax.com; P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
Experian: 1.888.EXPERIAN (397.3742); www.experian.com; P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013
3. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. You can file a complaint with the FTC using the online complaint form; or call the FTC's Identity Theft Hotline, toll-free: 1.877.ID.THEFT (438.4338); TTY: 1.866.653.4261; or write Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580. Be sure to call the Hotline to update your complaint if you have any additional information or problems. Keep a copy of the report for use in filing a local police report.
4. File a report with your local police agency or the police in the community where the theft occurred and include a printed copy of your FTC ID Theft Complaint form along with your supporting documentation.
Division of Information Technology
118 Pray Harrold
Ypsilanti, MI 48197