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Identity Theft

Some Suggestions On Avoiding It

The Division of Information Technology (DoIT) has received several reports of insurance scams via telephone and email. To help protect the UMBC community from identity theft, DoIT is sharing some information about identity theft.

According to the Maryland Department of Labor, identity theft is the illegal process of stealing an individual’s personally identifiable information(PPI) such as a social security number (SSN), name, address, credit card, or banking information. These pieces of information can be used to incur debt or purchase things in the victim’s name. They can also be used to make fraudulent insurance claims in the victim's name and to redirect payment to the thief. The victims are not usually aware of the theft until months or years after the crime was committed.

According to the Federal Trade Commission(FTC) and the Maryland Department of Labor, to protect yourself from identity theft follow these steps:

  1. Keep your financial records, medical records, and SSN card in a safe place. If you need to get rid of these documents, shred them, use a dark marker to blackout information, or even burn them.

  2. Collect your postal mail as soon as it arrives.  Do not leave it where the addresses can be seen (such as on a seat in your car).

  3. Never give out your SSN or bank account information over the phone. 

  4. If you are filling out a document that requires your SSN or bank account information, contact the organization directly. Ask the question such as:-

    1. Why do you need it?

    2. How will you protect it?

    3. Can you use a different identifier?

    4. Can you use just the last four digits of my SSN?

  5. Carry a minimal amount of personal information and debit or credit cards with you.

If you have received any emails from ANYONE, your professors included, asking for your SSN or financial information immediately send the email along with the headers to security@umbc.edu. We will help you verify these messages. 

Instruction on how to forward email headers: https://wiki.umbc.edu/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=1867970

To protect yourself from telephone scam, please read this DOIT article: https://itsecurity.umbc.edu/critical/?id=101261

If you receive a call from ANYONE, UMBC included, asking for your personal information. 

  1. Tell the individual that you will call them back. You do not need to rush.

  2. Call the organization or person the caller is claiming to be. 

  3. Talk to someone in the organization to verify the information that was provided earlier on the phone. It’s okay, you do not have to call the individual back. Always be suspicious of everyone when giving out your PII.


If you think that you are a victim of Identity theft contact the Maryland Office of the Attorney General, Division of Consumer Protection at 410-528-8662 or visit https://www.marylandattorneygeneral.gov/Pages/CPD/default.aspx

In addition to contacting the Division of Consumer protection the Maryland Department of Labor suggests that you do the following:

  1. Request copies of your credit report from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, the larger credit reporting agencies, and dispute any inaccuracies.

  2. Contact the creditors to close the unauthorized accounts, change passwords or restrict access to the accounts.

  3. Place fraud alerts and a victim’s statement on each of your credit files maintained with the major credit reporting agencies.

  4. Request that the credit reporting agencies remove any inquiries referencing the fraudulent accounts.

  5. File a report with your local police department.

  6. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission: 

  7. File a complaint with the Commissioner of Financial Regulation.

  8. You may place either a fraud alert or a security freeze on your consumer credit report by contacting each consumer credit reporting agency (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) and requesting the appropriate action.


For more information about identity theft (including information about your credit reports) visit:




Receive any suspicious emails?

Forward it to security@umbc.edu along with the email headers. Instructions for doing so can be found at the UMBC support wiki: https://wiki.umbc.edu/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=1867970.

Follow us on myUMBC:https://my3.my.umbc.edu/groups/itsecurity


Posted: June 9, 2021, 9:07 PM