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Protect your identity and yourself on the Internet

June 24, 2008

KALAMAZOO--More than 12 million Americans will fall victim to identity theft this year--Western Michigan University doesn't want you to be one of them.

It can take years to reverse the personal and financial damage caused by a stolen identity. Avoid becoming a victim of identity theft and other Internet scams by safeguarding your personal information and following these guidelines for safe electronic communication. These same steps will help protect you from sexual predators, stalkers and other people on the Internet.

Never reply to e-mail messages asking you to confirm your account information by e-mail.

Never send your Social Security number; passwords; or credit card, bank account or other financial account numbers by e-mail.

Never share the password to your Bronco NetID or other accounts with anyone.

Never publish your phone number, address or date of birth on social networking sites like Bebo, Facebook and MySpace.

Always use passwords that are not easily guessed and contain a combination of letters and numbers. Change your passwords often.

Always realize that everything you post on social networking sites is public information, regardless of the privacy restrictions you have set on your account.

Students, faculty and staff members who receive questionable e-mail messages should delete them immediately, advises Thom Myers, WMU director of electronic communication.

"Even if the sender claims to be from WMU, the IRS, or your bank or credit union, do not reply and do not provide any information to the sender," Myers says. "No legitimate organization should ever ask you to provide or confirm sensitive information via e-mail or a third-party Web site."

Media contact: Tonya Hernandez, (269) 387-8400, tonya.hernandez@wmich.edu

WMU News
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