Consumer Assistance Program : University of Vermont

University of Vermont

Consumer Hotline:  Toll Free In VT (800) 649-2424 or (802) 656-3183


Identity Theft:  Find out more!

More resources to help you:

Deter. Detect. Defend: Avoid ID Theft

Vermont rules for SSN Privacy

Who commits identity theft?

Identity thieves can be next door or around the world.  Most commonly, however, identity theft is commited by an aquaintance, friend or relative of the victim.

Does identity theft happen in Vermont?

Unfortunately, identity theft happens all too regularly in Vermont.  Vermonters have been victims of identity theft through scams, theft and security breaches.  In the past year (October 2008 through October 2009), CAP received complaints of identity theft related to:
  • Credit Issues:  886 complaints
  • Scams:  754 complaints
  • Unknown Business:  427 complaints

Does identity theft really have an impact?

Identity theft has a significant impact on the lives of consumers. Identity theft:
  • affects nearly 10 million people a year,
  • requires an average of 116 hours repairing damage to an existing account and 158 hours repairing new accounts
  • takes up to a year to correct misinformation related to identity theft for 70% of victims.
ID theft can have a lasting impact on victims’ ability to get:
  • Credit
  • Insurance
  • Employment Housing

How does my identity get stolen?

Identity thieves collect personal information by theft and fraud.  Identity thieves will:
  • Steal wallets and purses
  • Steal mail
  • Complete a "change of address" form
  • Rummage through trash
  • Find personal information in homes.
  • Use personal information individuals share on the Internet.
  • Send email posing as legitimate companies or government agencies to obtain financial information.
  • Run scams, contests, lotteries and other “bait” phone, mail and email activities to gain information.
  • Place calls, send mail or email claiming “verification” of a debt or verification of unclaimed money.
  • Steal files from the workplace, bribe an employee, or "hack" into electronic files.

How do I avoid identity theft?

The best way to reduce the risk of identity theft is to be aware of where and how your information is kept and used, and to limit access to personal information.  Use the S.C.A.M. method for reducing your risk of identity theft:
S- Be stingy about your personal information!
  • Don’t give out your personal information to others unless you are clear why they need it.
  • Secure personal information in mail, trash, at work and in your home.
  • Don't carry your social security card with you; leave it in a secure place.
  • Don't give out your social security number unless it is absolutely necessary; ask to use other types of identifiers when possible.
  • Don't give out personal information over the phone, through the mail or over the Internet.
  • Carry only the identification credit/debit cards that you actually need.
  • Keep your purse or wallet in a safe place at work.
C- Check your personal information regularly!  
  • Review  financial and credit reports, credit card statements and offers carefully for fraud.
  • Destroy offers of credit received in the mail that you do not want to accept.
  • Monitor internet orders.
  • Monitor telemarketing and junk mail and email. To opt out, register your phone with the Do Not Call registry, remove your address from mailing lists and learn to use your spam e-mail filters
A- Ask regularly for:
  • A copy of your credit report: Get your free Annual Credit Report online or by calling 1-877-322-8228.  Review all accounts, credit cards and loans.  Make sure they are accurate.  Look for things you did not authorize.
  • Information security procedures in your workplace.
  • Credit card policies and security information at telephone, shopping and medical services and internet sites where you use your credit card.
M- Maintain  control of documents related to personal information and financial accounts.  
  • Place passwords on your credit card, bank and phone accounts.
  • Guard your financial documents – checkbooks, financial statements, income tax documents.
  • Shred documents that are no longer needed. DO NOT THROW IN THE TRASH.  Look for local “shred” events.

Last modified April 06 2017 01:56 PM

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