• What is “Unauthorized Access”?

Unauthorized Access is when a person who does not have permission to connect to or use a system gains entry in a manner unintended by the system owner. The popular term for this is “hacking”.

  • How did this happen?

The specifics are different for each individual event but it could happen in any number of ways. Usually access is gained via unpatched software or other known vulnerabilities.

  • What should I do?

The University will notify you in some manner of the incident and provide you with more detailed information about the incident.The university encourages all persons impacted by an Unauthorized Access incident to contact one of the three credit reporting agencies to place a 90-day fraud alert on their credit report. If there is reason to believe more stringent action should be taken, it will be noted in the letter (or other notification) you receive.

  • What is a Fraud Alert?

From the TransUnion website:

A fraud alert can make it more difficult for someone to get credit in your name because it tells creditors to follow certain procedures to protect you. It also may delay your ability to obtain credit. You may place a fraud alert in your file by calling just one of the three nationwide credit reporting companies. As soon as that company processes your fraud alert, it will notify the other two, which then also must place fraud alerts in your file.

Here is one example scenario. Someone walks into a car dealership intending to purchase a car and finance it using your name and personal information. The dealer obtains a copy of your credit report to ensure you can make the payments. The credit report the dealer receives will have the fraud alert flag on it. The dealer then knows he should contact you to confirm you are indeed the person wanting to purchase the car. When you inform the dealer that you are not purchasing a car from him, the line of credit isn’t issued.

This alert only influences new lines of credit. Existing lines of credit are not affected, so you can continue to use your credit cards, pay on loans, etc, without any problems.

  • Will this reflect badly on my credit report or lower my credit score?No. This is a precautionary measure available to you to help protect your identity. This does not reflect poorly on you in any way.
  • How do I place a fraud alert?

Contact one of the credit reporting agencies. Placing a fraud alert with one agency will also place an alert with the other two.

  •    Each agency has an automated phone system that will allow you to do this as well as several other things.
  •    These numbers do not offer you the option to talk to a person.
  •    Experian has an online process that many consider to be easier to use.