Information Technology: Cyber Security Resources
Steps to Take if Your Data Becomes Compromised or Stolen
There are many informational resources available on the internet, here are the primary steps to take:
- Place a fraud alert for your information with credit bureaus.
- Periodically run a credit report with the credit bureaus to ensure accounts have not been activated without your knowledge. See list of credit agencies below.
- Contact law enforcement and your financial provider if you believe that your bank account or credit/debit card has been fraudulently used.
- Identity theft protection services can help you monitor your accounts. Many people find it valuable and convenient to pay a company to keep track of their financial accounts, credit reports, and personal information. Other people choose to do this on their own for free. Before you pay for a service, evaluate it and its track record before you pay any fees. Source: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0235-identity-theft-protection-services.
Credit Reporting Agencies
If you have reason to believe your personal information has been compromised or stolen, contact the Fraud Department of one of the three major credit bureaus listed to the left. Individuals whose personal information was involved in this incident can request a free initial (90 day) fraud alert to be placed on their credit files by calling any one of the three major national credit bureaus or completing an online form. Submit one online form request and all three agencies will add the fraud alert.
When contacting the Credit Reporting Agency, you should request the following:
- Instruct them to flag your file with a fraud alert including a statement that creditors should get your permission before opening any new accounts in your name.
- Ask them for copies of your credit report(s). (Credit bureaus must give you a free copy of your report if it is inaccurate because of suspected fraud.) Review your reports carefully to make sure no additional fraudulent accounts have been opened in your name or unauthorized changes made to your existing accounts. NOTE: In order to ensure that you are issued free credit reports, we strongly encourage you to contact the agency's DIRECT LINE (listed above) for reporting fraud. We do not recommend that you order your credit report online.
- You may want to ask about the option to freeze your credit. Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia have enacted legislation allowing consumers to place "security freeze" on their credit reports. A consumer report security freezes limits a consumer reporting agency from releasing a credit report or any information from the report without authorization from the consumer. Check your state's information.
- Be diligent in following up on your accounts. In the months following an incident, order new copies of your reports to verify your corrections and changes, and to make sure no new fraudulent activity has occurred.
- If you find that any accounts have been tampered with or opened fraudulently, close them immediately. To ensure that you do not become responsible for any debts or charges, use the ID Theft Affidavit Form developed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to help make your case with creditors.
You may request a free annual credit report, 1 per year, from AnnualCreditReport.com as recommended by the Federal Trade Commission.
Social Security Administration
SSA Fraud Hotline: 800-269-0271
If you are the victim of a stolen Social Security number, the SSA can provide information on how to report the fraudulent use of your number and how to correct your earnings record. We encourage you to contact the SSA Fraud Hotline immediately once you suspect identity theft.
The website also provides tips on using and securing your Social Security number. Visit the SSA website for advice on keeping your number safe.
ID Theft Clearinghouse
Call the ID Theft Clearinghouse toll free at to report identity theft. Counselors will take your complaint and advise you how to deal with the credit-related problems that could result from identity theft.
Local Law Enforcement
It is important that you report identity theft to your local police department as soon as you become aware that you are a victim. Get a copy of the police report which will assist you when notifying creditors, credit reporting agencies, and if necessary, the Social Security Administration (SSA).
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