25 Identity Theft

Policy Statement (Board Approval Date:  03/22/11)

  1. Introduction: The MSC Identity Theft Prevention Program (Program) pursuant to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Red Flags Rules (Rules), implements Section 114 of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 16 C.F.R § 681.2.
  2. Background: Under the Rules, every financial institution and creditor (universities receiving certain federal grants as well as delaying payments and/or issuing debit cards must comply with these rules) is required to establish a Program tailored to the size, complexity, and nature of its operation.
  3. Scope: Murray State College is committed to the intent of the Rules and understands the importance to its constituents.  Protecting individual privacy and the College from data loss and from identity theft is essential to MSC and to the Board.
  4. Purpose: The College strives to make reasonable efforts to detect, prevent, and mitigate identity theft. This policy and procedure is intended to help protect students, faculty, staff, and other constituents and the College from damages related to the fraudulent activity of identity theft. It is not intended to specify all the details or identify all possible instances for identity theft.  This policy and procedure will be periodically reviewed by the Identity Theft Committee chaired by the chief financial officer and will be updated to reflect changes in risks to faculty, staff, students, and affiliates at the College with respect to red flags and identity theft.


  1. Definitions and Program: Red Flags Rules definitions used in this Program as defined in the regulation:
    1. Identity Theft: A fraud committed or attempted using the identifying information of another person without authority.
    2. Red Flag: A pattern, practice, or specific activity that indicates the possible existence of identity theft.
    3. Covered Account: An account that includes all Bursar accounts or loans that are administered by the College.
    4. Additionally, it includes any other account for which there is a reasonably foreseeable risk of identity theft.
    5. Program Administrator: The individual designated with primary responsibility for oversight of the Program.
    6. Identifying Information: Any name or number that may be used alone or in conjunction with any other information to identify a specific person, including: name, address, telephone number, social security number, date of birth, government issued driver’s license or identification number, alien registration number, government passport number, employer or taxpayer identification number, student identification number, computer’s Internet Protocol address, or routing code.
  2. Identification of Red Flags: In order to identify relevant red flags, the College considers the types of accounts that it offers and maintains, methods it provides to open its accounts, methods it provides to access its accounts, and its previous experiences with identity theft.  The College identifies the following specific red flags in each of the listed categories:
      1. Notifications and Warnings from Credit Reporting Agencies:
        1. Report of fraud accompanying a credit report;
        2. Notice or report from a credit agency of a credit freeze on an applicant;
        3. Notice or report from a credit agency of an active duty alert for an applicant;
        4. Receipt of a notice of address discrepancy in response to a credit report request; or
        5. Indication from a credit report of activity that is inconsistent with an applicant’s usual pattern or activity.
      2. Suspicious Documents:
        1. Identification document or card that appears to be forged, altered, or inauthentic;
        2. Identification document or card on which a person’s photograph or physical description is not consistent with the person presenting the document;
        3. Other document with information that is not consistent with existing account holder/student information; or
        4. Application for service that appears to have been altered or forged.
      3. Suspicious Personal Identifying Information:
        1. Identifying information presented that is inconsistent with other information the account holder/student provides (example: inconsistent birth date);
        2. Identifying information presented that is inconsistent with other sources of information (for instance, a permanent address not matching a permanent address on a loan application);
        3. Identifying information presented that is the same as information shown on other documents that were found to be fraudulent;
        4. Identifying information presented that is consistent with fraudulent activity (such as an invalid phone number or fictitious billing address);
        5. Social security number presented that is the same as one given by another account holder/student;
        6. A person fails to provide complete personal identifying information on a document when reminded to do so; or
        7. Identifying information is not consistent with information that is on file for the account holder/student.
      4. Suspicious Covered Account Activity or Unusual Use of Account:
        1. Change of address for an account followed by a request to change the account holder/student’s name;
        2. Account used in a way that is not consistent with prior use;
        3. Mail sent to the account holder/student is repeatedly returned as undeliverable;
        4. Notice to the College that an account holder/student is not receiving mail sent by the College;
        5. Notice to the College that an account has unauthorized activity;
        6. Breach in the College’s computer system security; or
        7. Unauthorized access to or use of account holder/student account information.
      5. Alerts from Others: Notice to the College by an account holder/Student, identity theft victim, law enforcement or other person that the College has opened or is maintaining a fraudulent account for a person engaged in identity theft.
  3. Detecting Red Flags:
    1. Student Enrollment: In order to detect any of the red flags identified above associated with the enrollment of a student, College personnel will take the following steps to obtain and verify the identity of the person opening the account:
      1. Require certain identifying information such as name, date of birth, academic records, home address or other identification; and
      2. Verify the student’s identity at time of issuance of student identification card (review of driver’s license or other government issued or tribally issued photo identification).
    2. Existing Accounts: In order to detect any of the red flags identified above for an existing covered account, College personnel will take the following steps to monitor transactions on an account:
      1. Verify the identification of account holders/students if they request information (in person, via telephone, via facsimile, via e-mail, etc.);
      2. Verify the validity of requests to change billing address by mail or e-mail and provide the account holder/student a reasonable means of promptly reporting incorrect billing address changes; and
      3. Verify changes in banking information given for billing and payment purposes.
    3. Consumer (Credit) Report Requests: In order to detect any of the red flags identified above for an employment or volunteer position for which a credit or background report is sought, College personnel will take the following steps to assist in identifying address discrepancies.
      1. Require written verification from any applicant that the address provided by the applicant is accurate at the time the request for the credit report is made to the consumer reporting agency; and
      2. In the event that notice of an address discrepancy is received, verify that the credit report pertains to the application for which the requested report was made, and report to the consumer reporting agency an address for the applicant that the College has reasonably confirmed is accurate.
    4. Preventing, Mitigating, and Responding to Identity Theft: In the event College personnel detect any identified red flags, such personnel must take one or more of the following steps, depending on the degree of risk posed by the red flag:
      1. Prevent and Mitigate:
        1. Continue to monitor a covered account for evidence of identity theft.
        2. Contact the account holder/student or document provider (for which a credit report was run);
        3. Change any passwords or other security devices that permit access to covered accounts;
        4. Do not open a new covered account;
        5. Provide the account holder/student with a new campus identification number;
        6. Notify the program administrator for determination of the appropriate step(s) to take;
        7. Notify law enforcement;
        8. Notify all appropriate departments;
        9. File or assist in filing a Suspicious Activities Report (SAR); or
        10. Determine that no response is warranted under the particular circumstances.
      2. Prevent Misuse of Account Holder/Student Identifying Information: In order to further prevent the likelihood of identity theft occurring with respect to covered accounts, the College will take the following steps with respect to its internal operating procedures to protect account holder/student identifying information (individual departmental procedures may contain additional steps specific to their area).
        1. Ensure that Web sites are secure or provide clear notice that a Web site is not secure;
        2. Ensure complete and secure destruction of paper documents and computer files containing account holder/student account information when a decision has been made to no longer maintain such information;
        3. Ensure that office computers with access to covered account information are password protected.
        4. Avoid use if social security numbers;
        5. Ensure computer virus protection is current; and
        6. Require and keep only the kinds of account holder/student information that is necessary for College purposes.
    5. Identity Theft Program Administration:
      1. Oversight: Responsibility for developing, implementing, and updating this program lies with the Identity Theft Committee (Committee) for the College.  The Committee is headed by a program administrator who is the chief financial officer or his/her appointee. The remainder of the committee membership includes representatives from offices of Admissions and Registration, Financial Aid, Human Resources, and Housing and will include the Bursar.  The program administrator will be responsible for ensuring appropriate training of College staff on the Program; reviewing staff reports regarding the detection of red flags and the steps for preventing and mitigating identity theft; determining which steps of prevention and mitigation should be taken in particular circumstances; and considering periodic changes to the Program.
      2. Staff Training and Reports:
        1. College staff responsible for implementing the Program are trained either by, or under the direction of, the program administrator in the detection of red flags and the responsive steps to be taken when a red flag is detected. College staff must be trained as necessary to effectively implement the Program. It is recommended that employees sign a document to be stored in their personnel file stating that they have been trained and understand this policy.  Information will be tracked within the College training services.
        2. College employees are expected to notify the program administrator once they become aware of an incident of identity theft or of the College’s failure to comply with this program. At least annually or as otherwise requested by the program administrator, College staff responsible for development, implementation, and administration of the Program must report to the program administrator on compliance with this program. The report should address such issues as effectiveness of the policies and procedures in addressing the risk of identity theft in connection with the opening and maintenance of covered accounts, service provider arrangements, significant incidents involving identity theft and management’s response, and recommendations for changes to the Program.
      3. Service Provider Arrangements: In the event the College engages a service provider to perform an activity in connection with one or more covered accounts, the College will take the following steps to ensure the service provider performs its activity in accordance with reasonable policies and procedures designed to detect, prevent, and mitigate the risk of identity theft.
        1. Require that service providers have such policies and procedures in place; and
        2. Require that service providers review the College’s program and report any red flags to the program administrator or the College employee with primary oversight of the service provider relationship.
      4. Non-disclosure of Specific Practices: For the effectiveness of this Program, knowledge about specific red flags identification, detection, mitigation and prevention practices may need to be limited to the Committee who developed this program and to those employees with a need to know them.  Any documents that may have been produced or are produced in order to develop or implement this program that list or describe such specific practices and the information those documents contain are considered “confidential” and should not be shared with other employees or the public.  The program administrator must inform the Committee and those employees with a need to know the information of those documents or specific practices which should be maintained in a confidential manner.
      5. Program Updates: The Committee will annually review and update this document to reflect changes in risks to account holders/students and the soundness of the College from identity theft. In doing so, the Committee will consider the College’s experiences with identity theft situations, changes in identity theft methods, changes in identity theft detection and prevention methods, and changes in the College’s business arrangements with other entities.  After considering these factors, the program administrator will determine whether changes to the Program, including the listing of red flags, are warranted.  If warranted, the Committee will revise this document and will ensure ongoing support of the red flags regulation.


Murray State College Institutional Policies and Procedures Copyright © by Murray State College. All Rights Reserved.

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