Identity Theft

Being a student does not safeguard you against identity theft. As a student, you may even be more vulnerable to identity theft because of the availability of your personal data. Identity thieves don't steal your money; they steal your name and reputation and use them for their own financial gain. They attempt to steal your future!

In today's electronic age, ID thieves can easily, and sometimes legally, tap into your personal information with just a click of the computer mouse. A few bits of personal data are a gold mine for information crooks looking to steal your identity. An impostor using personal information like your address, birth date, Social Security or credit card number, can acquire phony credit cards, private phone lines, siphon money from your checking or savings account, get a mortgage and even give you a criminal record.

Identity thieves may rummage through trash searching for discarded account statements, pre-approved credit card offers or credit receipts; search public records for your address, and even rob your mailbox. Thieves use this knowledge to obtain credit cards, get wireless or phone products and services, obtain loans and mortgages, get a job, and commit other types of fraudulent or even criminal acts, in your name, leaving you responsible for the consequences.

Although you are a victim, you must take action to ensure your continued personal security. Many times, you will not be held responsible for monetary losses, but you are responsible for reporting the theft/fraud to several agencies. Call the University of Minnesota Community Investigator Division at 612-624-COPS if you have any questions.

For more information, visit the Federal Trade Commission's Identity Theft website.