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Office of the General Counsel


Frequently Asked Questions



What does the University do in the event of a computer security breach?

State and federal laws require notification when personal data is reasonably believed to have been potentially compromised. NDSU notifies all those known to have personal information stored on the system that has been breached. NDSU's primary goal is to provide all affected parties with information on steps they can take to help prevent identity theft and fraud.

How do I know if my records were affected?

NDSU will notify all individuals who's personal information or records have been potentially affected by any security breach.

Who can I contact if I have additional questions?

  • NDSU Student Financial Services - 701-231-6200
  • NDSU Human Resources - 701-231-8525
  • Office of the VP for Finance and Administration - 701-231-6177
  • Registrar's Office - 701-231-7745
  • IT Security Officer - 701-231-5870

Does this mean I am the victim of identity theft?

No. The fact that your personal information may have been potentially accessible via the Internet does not mean that you are a victim of identity theft or that the information would be fraudulently used or was even seen by anyone else. The University wants to provide you with awareness about what to do in the event of a computer security breach so you can take precautions to protect yourself. Some steps you can take to protect yourself includes placing a fraud alert or freeze on your credit files and reviewing your credit reports.

If I have confirmed that my personal records were stored on the system and potentially viewable, what should I do?

As a precaution, NDSU recommends that you contact one of the three national credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your consumer credit file and obtain a copy of your personal credit report. Once a credit bureau places a fraud alert on your credit file, the two other credit bureaus will automatically do the same. Each bureau will then send a confirmation letter with instructions on how to order a credit report.

Contact information for the fraud divisions of the national credit bureaus are:

What is a fraud alert?

Most credit card companies and other creditors won't issue credit without first checking the applicant's credit history. A fraud alert tells credit issuers that there is possible fraud associated with the account and gives them a phone number to call before issuing new credit in your name. This is intended to prevent others from fraudulently receiving credit in your name.

When you contact the credit bureau, you will be asked for identifying information and will be given an opportunity to provide contact information. Credit bureaus will send you a confirmation letter. A fraud alert lasts 90 days; you can reinstate the fraud alert after that time has lapsed.

I have ordered and received a credit report. What should I look for in this report?

As you review your credit report, be aware of any suspicious activity.

  • Look for any accounts you didn't open and any charges you didn't make.
  • Review the inquiries and requests section for names of creditors for whom you haven't requested credit.
  • Check the personal information to confirm accuracy of addresses where you have lived and your Social Security Number.

Any suspicious activity in these areas may be indications of fraud. Be alert for any calls from creditors or debt collectors about bills that you don't recognize and for unusual charges on your credit card bills.

What if there is a problem on my credit report?

If you find anything that is wrong or suspicious or you don't understand, call the telephone number for the credit agency listed on your report and review the report with a member of the staff. If information in the credit report can't be explained, you may wish to file a report of suspected identity theft with your local police or sheriff's department.

What do I do if I am a victim of identity theft?

You should immediately contact your local law enforcement agency, contact any creditors involved, and notify the credit bureaus. More information can be found at the N.D. Office of Attorney General at

What else can I do?

Those wishing to take an additional step may consider placing a security freeze on their credit file. A security freeze means that your file cannot be shared with potential creditors, with some exceptions. If your credit files are frozen, even someone who has your name and Social Security Number would not be able to get credit in your name. More information on obtaining a security freeze can be found at the N.D. Office of Attorney General at

Equifax Security Freeze
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348

Experian Security Freeze
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion Security Freeze
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834

What is the difference between a fraud alert and a security freeze?

A fraud alert is a message on the credit report that a credit issuer receives when checking a consumer's credit rating. It tells the credit issuer that there may be fraud involved in the account. Most businesses will not open credit accounts without checking a consumer's credit history. A security freeze means that your credit file cannot be seen by potential creditors, insurance companies, or employers doing background checks - unless you give your consent.

Will a fraud alert or security freeze prevent me from using my credit cards or obtaining new ones?

A fraud alert will not stop you from using your existing credit cards or other accounts. It may slow the process of receiving new credit, since the purpose of a fraud alert is to help protect you against identity theft. Potential creditors receive messages alerting them to the possibility of fraud. This tells them they should re-verify the identity of the person applying for credit. With a security freeze, potential creditors, insurance companies of employers doing background checks are not permitted to see your credit history. Among other things, this likely would prevent you from receiving new credit without your explicit consent.

Is it okay to give my Social Security Number to the credit bureau fraud line?

The credit bureaus ask for your Social Security Number and other information to identity you and to avoid sending your credit report to the wrong person. NDSU advises caution if you are contacted by somebody who claims to represent NDSU on this matter and who asks for personal information. NDSU will contact you only with information regarding steps you should take to prevent possible fraud or identity theft, or if you ask us for specific information about this incident. The University will not contact you and ask for your full Social Security Number, bank account, or other personal information.

Should I close my bank account, cancel my credit cards, or change my driver's license?

It is recommended that you visit with your personal banker and your credit card issuers to determine what would best suit your needs.

Will NDSU contact me to ask for personal information because of this incident?

NDSU will not contact your for personal information such as your Social Security Number, credit card, or banking information. The University will only contact you to provide suggestions on how to protect yourself against potential identity theft and fraud or, if you request, to provide specific information.

What steps is NDSU taking to improve security of personal information and prevent similar incidents in the future?

The University has developed several procedures to protect personal information. Only those business entities within NDSU that have a compelling need to use Social Security Numbers are allowed to do so, and they are required to contractually protect the information. NDSU will continue to work to improve its security posture to protect personal information.

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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Last Updated: Thursday, June 11, 2009