Identity theft occurs when someone steals or uses your personal information without your permission. Identity thieves use many methods to obtain your personal information, including pretending to work for legitimate companies, such as places where you do personal banking, shopping, or receive health care services. The information can then be used to open credit cards, file tax returns in your name, to obtain medical treatment and for many other purposes. It is important to stay alert to potential identity theft scams and protect yourself against any attempts to illegally obtain and use your personal information.
Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft
You can protect yourself against identity theft through a combination of awareness of potential threats and some commonly used best practices to minimize exposure of your personal information. It is also a good idea to check your credit report, which can be obtained annually and for free from each of the three major credit bureaus.
Protect Your Personal Information
- Use strong password for important accounts
- Don’t carry your Social Security card with you and keep it in a secure place
- Don’t give out personal information on the phone, through the mail or over the internet unless you have initiated the contact or are sure you know with whom you are dealing. If you are not sure who you are speaking with, ask if you can call back, but do not provide your personal information until you are confident that you are dealing with a representative of a legitimate organization that you wish to do business with.
- Only give your Social Security Number when absolutely necessary. Always ask if another type of identifier is acceptable.
- Guard your mail and trash from theft and always properly dispose of documents that contain personal information by tearing or shredding.
- Keep your computer and electronic communications safe. Maintain up to date virus protection, use a firewall program and secure browser to minimize risk. Never open an email or attachments from unknown and/or suspicious senders.
Be Aware of Threats and Resources
There are many identity theft schemes and it is important to know where to find information about threats and resources if you think you may be a victim of identity theft or targeted by identity thieves.
- Federal Resource
- The Federal Trade Commission provides information to consumers about identity theft, including information about scams and how to protect your identity in the marketplace
- State Resources (North Carolina)
- UNC Health Care Resources
UNC Medical Center Hospital Police
If you have lost personal information or suspect a theft of your personal information at the UNC Medical Center and would like to file a report, contact the Hospital Police Department at UNC Medical Center.