So, you may be wondering … How can I keep from becoming a victim
of Identity Theft?
Keeping yourself safe from identity thieves, in large part, is
common sense. Knowledge is power … and knowing a few helpful tips
can go a long way.
Just remember to stay
||Be stingy in who you give your personal
information. Don’t trust anyone who asks for your personal
information that you do not know or who has no business
looking for it!
The University of South Carolina currently uses social
security numbers as student identifiers but will soon
discard the use of this with the implementation of
However, social security numbers will still be kept in
confidential and personal records. The University will never
ask for your social security number or other sensitive data
in an e-mail.
||Educate yourself about the dangers of phishing
and other forms of identity theft. This Web site is a good
place to start, but there are other good resources to use. Click on the
Links & Resources section for more
||Check your financial information regularly. You
should receive monthly statements with your transactions. If
you’re not receiving these or are seeing transactions you do
not recognize, immediately call your financial institution
or credit card company. If you are told your
financial statements are being sent to another address, this
may be a sign that your information may be compromised and
let the company know this immediately. You should keep your
financial statements in a safe and secure place for at least
one year, if not more.
||Use extreme caution. Always use anti-virus
and anti-spyware programs on your computer. The University of
South Carolina provides anti-virus/anti-spyware software for
students, faculty and staff. To download these programs,
please visit VIP (https://vip.sc.edu/). In addition,
many operating systems and Internet Service Providers offer
firewall protection for their customers. Also, don’t click
on Web links in e-mails that you do not recognize. Many
times, thieves will disguise Web sites that look official
and request your personal information. Some sites may
contain worms and viruses as well that could infect your
||Request copies of your financial statements,
credit reports and other forms of financial transactions to
make sure no one is using your information fraudulently.
These reports should list all of your bank and financial
accounts under your name and will provide an indication that
someone is accessing your information.
||Encrypt your information! Use strong passwords
that are not found in the dictionary, are at least 6
characters and contain numbers, letters and symbols. Make
sure that no one has access to your online information
except for you. Keeping your personal and sensitive
information hidden will make it very difficult for hackers
or identity thieves to steal your information. Please
click here to find out more about strong passwords.
Other tips to use:
||Don’t reply to e-mail if you have a question or are
suspicious about the sender. Instead, call the toll-free
number listed on the alleged sender’s Web site to confirm
the e-mail validity.
||If you see a suspicious hyperlink in an e-mail message,
don’t click on it. If the e-mail looks valid and if it is a
company you recognize, try manually typing in the Web
address of the company and check that against the URL that
is provided in the suspicious e-mail.
||Back-up important files to a secure location. If
information on your hard drive is compromised and you do not
have a back-up, recovery of the information will be very
||Know who to contact if your information is stolen. There
are a number of contacts in this site located within the
Links and Resources section. You
should also contact your Internet Service Provider if your
hard drive with personal information is compromised.
||Shred your personal information! If you don’t have a
shredder or access to one, invest in one TODAY! Just
throwing away old bank and financial statements could lead
to identity theft. Someone could go through your garbage for
these records and steal your information. It is good
practice to shred anything that has your personal and
financial information. This also includes credit card
“pre-approval” letters in the mail. Be sure to shred this
information so someone doesn’t retrieve the information and
apply for a card in your name.
||Be very careful about providing information about
yourself online. There are many sites that request
information, especially anything dealing with eCommerce.
Make sure it is a secure site (you will notice https:// in
the URL and a lock at the bottom of the screen.)
||If identity theft occurs, immediately notify all
financial and banking institutions and put a ‘fraud’ alert
on all of your information.