Identity and Information Safety

Don’t be the victim of identity theft – protect your information with these tips from the Department of Public Safety and U-M Information and Technology Services


  • Protect your computer with up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware software. University students, faculty, and staff can download VirusScan (for Windows) and Sophos (for Macs) at no cost.
  • Use passwords wisely.
    • Never use your UMICH Kerberos password for non-University accounts.
    • Use a different, robust password for each online account.
    • Never share your password with others.
    • Never use the “Remember my Password” function on any website that contains personal or financial information.
  • Use a password or PIN to lock portable devices.
  • Lock your screen or log out before you walk away from any publicly-accessible computer.
  • Always use a secure (password-enabled) WiFi connection. While on campus, use MWireless.
  • Be wary of peer-to-peer file sharing, which can open your computer to infection.


  • Consider using one credit card exclusively for shopping online. That way you can monitor all online purchases on one statement, and keep another card for face-to-face transactions.
  • Before placing an order online, look for a closed “lock” icon on the bottom of the page and make sure the address begins with “https”. This signifies that encryption software is being used to create a secure transaction.
  • Storing your credit card information on a shopping or service website may seem convenient, but it puts your credit at risk. Even highly respected online vendors have had their security broken.
  • Monitor your credit. Order a free credit report and be aware of imposter credit report websites.
  • Cross-shred confidential documents and destroy electronic media and inactive credit cards that contain confidential information when they are no longer needed.


  • Unsolicited e-mail and attachments can wreck havoc on your computer. A message may look like it’s from a trusted source, but it’s possible for an unscrupulous person to pretend to be someone else. If you’re not expecting an attachment, don’t open it or even reply to it!
  • Beware of “phishing” scams – never respond to an e-mail request for private personal information; no legitimate company will request information in this way.
  • If you receive a threatening e-mail, call the Department of Public Safety at (734) 763-1311 immediately.