U implements program to detect identity fraud

The U.S. government-mandated deadline for the program is May 1.

Starting May 1, all University of Minnesota employees and students should feel a little more protected. New government regulations require colleges and universities âÄî as institutions where people make payments over time âÄî to implement programs to prevent identity theft and detect âÄúRed Flags,âÄù signs such as a person opening a credit account without all required personal identification that may indicate the identify theft. With the deadline approaching quickly, University IT employees are unsure whether the program will be completed on time. While cases of identity theft from a University account may have gone reported, Ken Hanna, director of University network and computer security, said there are no cases on record. âÄúWe havenâÄôt had any reports,âÄù Hanna said. âÄúKnock on wood.âÄù Despite there being no record of identity theft from a University account, it is not uncommon for students. Carol Jacobsen , a legal assistant for University Legal Services, who has worked there for 21 years, said she has seen a definite increase in identity theft among students. âÄúIdentity theft has increased over the last few years,âÄù Jacobsen said. âÄúAnd the boldness of the thief has increased incredibly.âÄù She cited cases where thieves had packages delivered to the home of their victim. The thief would then pick it up before they returned home. âÄúThe majority of the ID theft that appears on campus involves people who have their purses or backpacks taken,âÄù Jacobsen said. âÄúMost frequently itâÄôs out of an automobile.âÄù Lost or stolen wallets, checkbooks, credit cards, or other documents, such as passports, account for 43 percent of all ID theft, according to a report by Javelin Strategy and Research, a finance-based consulting firm. Proof of these numbers comes from Jacobsen, who said she received four reports in the last week of purses being taken that contained the victimâÄôs passport. âÄúNobody should carry a passport or social security card,âÄù Jacobsen said. âÄúBetter to leave it in a safe place.âÄù The majority of the damage done to a victim after the theft of personal items is in the first 48 to 72 hours. Jacobsen said the amount of theft has risen, citing a recent case where $100,000 dollars worth of fraudulent debt was recorded against a victim. Jacobsen warned students should be careful with personal checks. When banks close the account after checks are stolen, Jacobsen said they do not notify creditors who then unknowingly accept the checks, leaving the victim to deal with angry collection agencies looking to collect on the debt. When dealing with identity theft, Jacobsen said the process can take anywhere from a week to a few months. She recently spent three months completely resolving an identity theft problem the victim had dealt with for four years. With the deadline for the identity theft identification program coming next week, Michael Volna , University associate vice president of the controller’s office, said although the program is not in place yet, they have been working on it for the past two months. âÄúWeâÄôre pretty close but canâÄôt predict whether it will be right on the button,âÄù Volna said of the May 1 deadline. With implementation, Volna said the department will combine the program with two other programs dealing with finances: the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act , which allows commercial and investment banks to consolidate; and credit card industry purchasing standards. By combining these three programs into less than one administrative body, Volna said it will keep costs down while being more efficient.