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Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships

Identity Theft & Preventing Fraud

Identity fraud is one of the nation's fastest growing crimes, affecting individuals and businesses alike. Although most people are aware of it, research shows that consumers and businesses are not taking the necessary steps to fully protect themselves. The best way to fight fraud is to prevent it in the first place.



  • Most stolen cards are used within 48 hours, so it is important to report a missing card immediately.

  • If someone steals your ATM card and uses it, you could be responsible for up to $500 or more. The Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA) states the amount you're responsible for depends on when you report the loss.

  • There are over 10 million identity theft victims in the US each year.

  • That someone has their identity stolen every 4 seconds in the United States.

  • 60% of victims don't find out about the identity theft until 3 or more months after it occurs.

  • Victims spend anywhere from 6 month to two years recovering from identity theft.


  • Keep track of your credit and debit cards. If they are lost or stolen, report it immediately.

  • Never keep your personal identification number (PIN) on or near your card.

  • Don't give your account number over the phone unless you have placed the call.

  • Check receipts against monthly statements, reports errors within 60 days.

  • Carry only the cards you need, especially when traveling.

  • Never lend an ATM card or a credit card to anyone.

  • Never give your ATM/Debit pin to anyone or any website.

  • Never leave cards or receipts lying around your room, no matter where you live.

  • Shred statements with your account number or personal identification information on it.

  • When using the internet, always check for the lock button at the bottom of the screen when submitting sensitive or confidential information via a website.

  • Check your credit report annually. 


  • You start getting letters or bills in your name from companies with which you are not familiar. For example, bills or receipts for things you haven’t bought, a mobile phone in your name which you didn’t know about or letters regarding outstanding debts which are not yours.

  • You stop getting bills or statements or post in general which you normally receive on a regular basis.

  • You are refused a financial service, such as a credit card or a loan, despite having a good credit history.