Preventing Identity Theft

ITS and Tennessee Tech want to help you be vigilant in securing your identity and reducing your risk of being a victim.

What is Identity Theft?

If someone is using your identifying information to obtain goods, services, credit, and/or open fraudulent accounts, you are the victim of identity theft. Victims are left with poor credit and the complicated task of restoring their good names. Usually, thieves target components of your personal identifying information, such as your:

Identity Theft Can Happen to Anyone

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. Someone's identity is stolen every 4 seconds in the United States, and there are over 10 million identity theft victims in the US each year. The average costs for recovering from an attack on your identity is $8,000, plus an average of 600 hours in paperwork and other activities to clear your name. The majority of victims don't discovery the theft until months after it occurs.

How Can My Identify Be Stolen?

Your best protection against identity theft is knowing where the thieves can get your information. Amazingly, most of us don't realize the most common ways our identity can be compromised by thieves:

These are the most common methods, and the ones we hear the least about. Other ways thieves can target information include:

Reducing Your Risk

By being cautious, suspicious, and vigilant, you can reduce the chances of someone stealing your information:

You should also check your credit report at least once a year. If you are a victim of identity theft, checking your credit report may help you catch the theft earlier. Call immediately if you discover any irregularities. A recent amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires that each of the three consumer credit reporting companies (Experian, Trans Union and Equifax) provide you with a free copy of your credit report once every twelve months.


If You Think It Has Happened to You

 

Some information obtained from Northwestern University, Willamette University, and Oklahoma University.