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Identity Theft

Examples of Red Flags

Suspicious documents

  • Documents provided for identification appear to be altered or forged.
  • The photo or physical description on identification is not consistent with the appearance of the presenter.
  • Information on identification is not consistent with other information provided by the presenter.
  • Information on identification is not consistent with information on file with the University or unit, such as a signature card or a recent check.
  • An application appears to be altered, forged, or reassembled from one that was destroyed.

Suspicious personally identifying information

  • The identifying information provided is inconsistent with external sources used by the University or unit. For example:
    • An address does not match a consumer report.
    • The Social Security number (SSN) has not been issued, or it is listed on the Social Security Administration's Death Master File.
    • The SSN range does not correlate with the birthdate.
  • Identifying information provided is known fraud or commonly associated with fraud. For example:
    • The address or phone number matches that provided on a fraudulent application.
    • The address is fake, a mail drop, or a prison.
    • The phone number is invalid or that of a pager or answering service.
  • Identifying information is identical or similar to that provided by a large number of other customers, such as:
    • An SSN matches that of another one provided by other customer.
    • An address, phone number, or account number matches or is similar to that of other customers.
    • A customer fails to provide all required identifying information on an application or in response to notice of an incomplete application.
  • Identifying information provided is inconsistent with information on file with the University or unit.
  • A customer cannot provide authenticating answers beyond what is generally available in a wallet or consumer report when responding to challenge questions.

Unusual or suspicious account activity

  • Shortly following the notice of a change of address, the University or unit receives a request for a new, additional, or replacement card, or for additional authorized users.
  • A new revolving credit account is used in a manner commonly associated with fraud. For example:
    • Most available credit is used for cash advances or to buy merchandise (such as electronics or jewelry) that is easily converted to cash.
    • A customer fails to make the first payment or subsequent payments after an initial payment.
  • An account is used in a manner that is not consistent with established activity. For example, there is:
    • Nonpayment when there is no history of late or missed payments
    • Material increase in the use of available credit
    • Material change in spending patterns
    • Material change in electronic fund transfer patterns
  • An account that had been inactive for a relatively long period of time (taking into consideration the type of account, expected pattern of usage, and other relevant factors) is used.
  • Mail is repeatedly returned as undeliverable despite continued account usage.
  • The University or unit is notified that the customer is not receiving paper account statements.
  • The University or unit is notified of unauthorized charges or transactions for a covered account.

Notice of possible identity theft

A unit is notified that it has opened a fraudulent account for a person engaged in identity theft. This notice may come from a customer, a victim of identity theft, a law enforcement authority, or any other person.

Alerts, notices, or warnings from a Consumer Reporting Agency (credit bureau)

  • A fraud or active duty alert is included with a consumer report.
  • A credit bureau provides a notice of credit freeze.
  • A credit bureau provides a notice of address discrepancy.
  • A consumer report indicates activity that is inconsistent with the history and usual activity of an applicant or customer, such as:
    • Recent and significant increase in the volume of inquiries
    • An unusual number of recently established credit relationships
    • Material change in the use of credit, especially recently established credit relationships
    • An account was closed for cause, or identified for abuse of privileges

Last Updated: January 27, 2016

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