Start a degree program at American Public University.
By Ryan Laspina
Senior Specialist, Red Flags and External Reviews at APUS
Cyber crimes continue to grow in today’s dialed-in world. Criminals have become extremely sophisticated in using technology to commit crimes.
Not only can your money be stolen, but you can lose your identity as well. However, if you use caution, it is easier to protect yourself against the loss of your identity and money.
Never Provide Sensitive Information to Unknown or Untrustworthy Sources
You should always be wary of anyone who asks for your Social Security number. You should provide it only when it’s absolutely necessary. Unless you know or fully trust the company or individual with whom you are dealing, do not reveal any personal information.
Check Your Credit Report Yearly to Prevent Identity Theft
If you catch identity theft early, you may have an easier time rectifying any financial damage. If you find something on your credit report that does not make sense, immediately contact the three major credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) and ask for information about the activity in question.
U.S. federal law (the Fair Credit Reporting Act [FCRA]) requires each of these companies to give you a free credit report every 12 months if you ask for it. You can obtain your free report through www.annualcreditreport.com.
Check Your Checking and Savings Accounts Often
Talk to your bank or credit union. Ask them to run a check to see if any new accounts have been opened using your personal information.
Secure Physical Copies of Your Important Personal Documents
Everyone who drives must carry a driver’s license, but there is no need to carry your Social Security card or your birth certificate. Keep these and any other personal documents in a safe place, preferably in a fireproof safe or in a safety deposit box.
Use Encryption for Sensitive Information
If you need to send personal information via email, make sure you encrypt your messages. You can encrypt your messages by sending the information as a password-protected document in either Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat. That way, only the intended receiver will be able to view your information.
Identity theft can leave you feeling helpless, upset and worried. It is a terrible feeling to find out that you are the victim of identity theft. Often, it takes months to resolve the situation properly. However, taking steps to protect yourself can decrease your chances of becoming a victim by making it harder for criminals to gain access to your personal information and accounts.
If you do become a victim of student loan identity theft at APUS, please reach out to the university as soon as possible at 877-755-2787 ext. 4000 or email SecureRecord@apus.edu. You should also file a police report with your local police station, as well as call the loan servicer and all of the credit reporting agencies.