Wednesday, December 8, 2021
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Safety tips from Crime Prevention Officer Patrick Tedesco

How to avoid identity theft

With spring break approaching quickly and people traveling and being out in the nice weather, here are a few safety tips to protect your identity.

Never carry your Social Security card in your wallet. This is considered the gateway to your identity. Leave it locked away at home or in a safe deposit box until you need it to conduct business.

Keeping credit card receipts in your car is asking for trouble. Identity thieves would much rather have your personal account information than your car stereo.

Photocopy both sides of all credit cards and keep this information in a safe place. If you lose your wallet, you’ll have the account numbers and phone numbers at your fingertips.

Report lost or stolen cards the moment you realize you are not in possession of the card. This will limit your liability.

Secure personal information in your home, especially if you have roommates, employ outside help, or are having service work done in your home.

Never provide personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call. Remember, identity thieves are skilled professional liars, trained to sound legitimate and sincere.

Don’t use an obvious password like your birth date, your mother’s maiden name, or the last four digits of your Social Security number.

If you are a victim of ID theft:

Contact the three major credit reporting bureaus, and request a fraud alert be placed on your credit file.

Consider placing a security freeze on your credit file.

Order a credit report from each bureau, and examine it carefully for fraud.

Continue to check your reports periodically to make sure no new activity has occurred.

Contact all creditors, starting with the accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Close those accounts, even if you opened them.

When establishing new accounts, select new PIN numbers and passwords.

File a police report, as you may need this documentation to prove the theft. Order copies of the police report to have on hand and submit to creditors.

File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online at or through their Identity Theft Hotline at (877) 438-4338.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding crime or crime prevention, call 816-235-1716 or e-mail

Remember to always report any suspicious activity or crime you see immediately to campus police at 816-235-1515, or call 911 from any campus phone.


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