According to the National Council on Identity Theft Protection, “identity theft scenarios are increasing drastically in 2023.” The most recent Federal Trade Commission reports from 2021, show they received 5.7 million reports of identity theft and fraud, up from 4.7 million in 2020. “Cases are at an all-time high, because of a wider range of identity theft methods” and “reports indicate that nearly 33% of Americans have faced some kind of identity theft attempt in their lives.”
The University is also hearing reports that fraudulent debit, business or investment accounts, or similar accounts are being opened without individuals’ authorization. Often, these accounts are opened at various financial institutions online without the need to run a credit check, which means that credit monitoring services alone often do not alert individuals to this activity.
To help protect the UC Community, we are providing this non-exhaustive list of contact information for financial institutions we understand may be experiencing this situation. UCOP is also working with these institutions where appropriate. We are also including tips and best practices on actions you can take from consumer protection agencies and other experts.
In general, it is a good practice to closely monitor your work and personal email as well as your physical mail to look out for these unauthorized account openings.
If you feel comfortable sharing your experience with us, please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org with details on when and how you discovered an account opened in your name without your authorization, as well as what steps you have taken to mitigate the issue. We can use that information and work proactively with the relevant institutions where appropriate.
Contact Information for various institutions:
- Acorns: (855) 739-2859 or visit their website
- Capital One "Customer Protection" direct line: 866-464-7761 or visit their website
- Chime customer support: (844) 244-6363
- Go2Bank customer support: (855) 459-1334 or visit their website
- PayPal: (888) 221-1161 or visit their website
- Square customer support (855) 700-6000
- Scarlet customer support (833) 707-3783 or visit their website
- Green Dot (Walmart) (877) 937-4098, press 3 to report ID theft
- Idenitytheft.gov is where consumers can report identity theft at the federal government’s one-stop resource to help people report and recover from identity theft. The site provides step-by-step advice and helpful resources like easy-to-print checklists and sample letters.
- ReportFraud.ftc.gov is where consumers should go to report fraud, scams, or bad business practices
- OptOutPrescreen.com is the official Consumer Credit Reporting Industry website to accept and process requests from consumers to Opt-In or Opt-Out of firm offers of credit or insurance. To opt out of credit offers, call (888) 5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) or visit their website.
- AnnualCreditReport.com is the only source for your free credit reports. To obtain a free copy of your credit report (one per year), visit their website.
Articles & Other Resources:
- Credit Freezes are Free: Let the Ice Age Begin, by Krebs on Security includes information on credit bureaus Equifax, Experian, TransUnion, Innovis, ChexSystems.
- Data Breach: Tax-related Information for Taxpayers by the IRS
- Did you get a notice that says a company lost your personal information in a data breach? Did you lose your wallet? Or learn that an online account was hacked? Here are steps you can take to help protect yourself from identity theft.
- What to Know About Your Credit Freezes and Fraud Alerts by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
- What To Do if You Were Scammed by FTC
- What can you do to keep your personal info secure? Are identity protection services worth the cost? What about credit freezes? Check out the FTC’s identity theft articles to find out.
- Free Identity Theft Resources — in English and Spanish — can help you protect their identity and recover if an identity thief strikes.
- File a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
- Money Mules Don’t Be a Mule: Awareness Can Prevent Crime by the FBI
If you have any other questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Security Operations Center by emailing email@example.com.