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Identity theft occurs when someone uses an individual's personal information — such as Social Security number, birth date, or credit card and bank account information — to impersonate the victim in financial transactions. During the 2003 calendar year, the Federal Trade Commission received nearly 215,000 reports of identity theft, up from 162,000 the previous year. Identity theft represented 42 percent of all complaints received by the FTC, reflecting a growing trend.
Several recent incidents have highlighted the susceptibility of college and university data collections to theft. At the University of Texas, New York University, and elsewhere, security flaws have revealed students' Social Security numbers and other personally identifiable information. Federal legislation has made it easier for victims of identity theft to report crimes and for consumers to get copies of their credit histories; many states have passed or are debating legislation related to this issue.
EDUCAUSE has identified links concerning identity theft that may be useful to the higher education community. Many of these links have been contributed by EDUCAUSE members. If you have additional resources you would like to include on this page, send the information to email@example.com.
Federal Government Resources
Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) of 2003
FACTA renewed the Fair Credit Reporting Act with additional provisions aimed at protecting consumers from identity theft. The law provides for individuals to get free annual copies of their credit histories; requires businesses to hide Social Security numbers and portions of credit card numbers on receipts; and creates a national fraud - detection system so victims of identity theft do not have to notify each credit bureau separately.
The Federal Trade Commission's National Resource for ID Theft
The FTC has developed this site as a national resource for identity theft. It provides a list of steps to take for individuals who believe that their identity has been stolen. Resources include an identity theft survey, affidavit, statistics, and other helpful links. Information is in English and Spanish.
Identity Theft and Your Social Security Number
Social Security Administration (SSA) publication No. 05-10064, from February 2004.
OnGuardOnline.gov provides practical tips from the federal government and the technology industry to help you be on guard against Internet fraud, secure your computer, and protect your personal information.
U.S. Department of Education, Office of the Inspector General - Resource on Identity Theft for Students
Copies of informational handouts on identity theft designed for schools to provide to students.
State Government Resources
National Conference of State Legislatures
Identity theft statutes by state. List of citations, titles, and penalties.
Florida Attorney General
The state of Florida's Identity Theft Response Center. Resources include a theft victim kit, statistics, and informaton on preventing theft.
Association and Nongovernmental Organization Resources
Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC)
ITRC is a national organization dedicated to helping people to prevent and recover from identity theft. Resources include FAQs, scams and consumer alerts, current laws, and guides for organizing an identity theft case.
Identity Theft University - Business Partnership Michigan State University
The partnership includes MSU researchers who are working with industry to make personal data more secure. This site includes information on technological, legal, psychological, and policy issues related to identity theft.
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
Fact sheets on identity theft, in English and Spanish.
University Resources on Identity Theft and Data Security Incidents
Library Items on this Topic
EDUCAUSE Library Items for Identity Theft
- Identity Theft
Identity Theft True Identity theft occurs when someone us…
- Northeastern University Security Policies and Programs
March 21, 2014
Northeastern University's Security Policies and Programs website consists of several IT policies e.g., Acceptable Use Policy, Written Information Security Program and Northeastern Univers…
- Identity Management in Higher Education, 2011 - Slide Presentation
June 1, 2011
This slide presentation illuminates findings from the ECAR 2011 research of identity management (IdM) practices in higher education . This slide deck can be adapted for presentations within …
- Who Should Get In?
June 1, 2011
Back to ECAR 2011 Identity Management Research Hub This chart reflects findings from the ECAR 2011 research of identity management (…
- Identity Management in Higher Education, 2011â€”Key Findings
June 1, 2011
This document presents the key findings from Identity Management in Higher Education, 2011. This ECAR research study illuminates findings from the 2010 survey of identity management (IdM) …
- Identity Management in Higher Education, 2011â€”Roadmap
June 1, 2011
This ECAR roadmap synthesizes the important issues and recommended actions drawn from the study Identity Management in Higher Education, 2011 , by Mark C. Sheehan and Cedric Bennett, with…
- Identity Management in Higher Education, 2011 Report
June 1, 2011
Key Findings Higher education has made substantial progress in the last five years, but many institutions are still struggling to deliver the full benefits of IdM. Institutions that report the…
- Several Ways to Understand Digital Privacy
April 21, 2011
Data privacy is frequently a confusing subject. This talk will explain why: Privacy comprises many different rights and protections that may apply in many different circumstances. It's fre…
- Tune In April 21: Privacy Attacks and Defenses
April 14, 2011
Our online privacy seems to be under assault from all sides: by commercial organizations, by the government, by search engines and ISPs, and even by our cell phonesâ€”not to mention by crimi…
- The Use of Social Security Numbers in California Colleges and Universities
July 1, 2010
The author's stated intention was "to minimize both the collection and storage of [the SSN] at colleges and universities, given the odds of it being released to unauthorized viewers, b…