Tag Archives: Fraud

Identity Theft

Identity theft occurs when a person commits fraud while posing as someone else. The threat of identity theft is real and can take months or even years to recover from once you are a victim. Use the information below to familiarize yourself with the precautions you can take to minimize the chance of becoming a victim and, if you are a victim, these steps will help you correct the situation.



1. Order a copy of your credit report on a frequent basis (at least annually, preferably quarterly). You can request your credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com.

2. If you have to give private information over the phone, ensure you are in a secure location.

3. Shred all financial statements, billing statements, and pre-approved credit card offers.

4. The IRS does not request personal/financial data through email, so don’t respond to any emails asking for that information.

5. Check your financial accounts regularly.

6. Select Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) and passwords carefully so they can’t be easily guessed by someone else.

7. Don’t give out private information over the phone or Internet unless you have initiated the contact or know for certain to whom you are speaking.

8. Destroy your computer’s hard drive if you are selling it or giving it away.

9. Don’t carry your social security card with you.

10. Don’t carry your registration in your vehicle; instead, carry it in your wallet.

11. Don’t carry auto insurance policies in your car; instead, keep them safe at home.

12. Make photo copies of all the cards in your wallet and keep them in a safe place.


1. Ensure you are using an ATM without someone watching you.

2. Pay your bills online using a secure website if that option is available to you.

3. Avoid entering your credit card number online unless it is encrypted on a secure website.


1. Take outgoing personal and/or bill payments to the U.S. Postal Service mailboxes or drop them off inside a post office.

2. Don’t write your account number on the outside of envelopes containing bill payments.

3. Have the post office hold your mail when you are out of town.

4. Don’t leave mail sitting in an unprotected mail box.


1. Use traveler’s checks versus personal checks when traveling.

2. Review monthly bank and credit card statements for mistakes or unfamiliar charges.

3. Have your paychecks directly deposited into your bank account.

4. Avoid providing personal information—account number or password—over the phone or via the Internet.


1. Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC): www.ftc.gov or 877.438.4338.

2. Contact the fraud departments of any one of the four major credit bureaus:

3. Close the accounts that have been used fraudulently.

4. File a police report.

5. Keep an identity theft log for your personal records.

6. Contact other agencies that might be involved: Social Security Administration’s Fraud Hotline (800.269.0271), U.S. Postal Inspection Service (888.877.7644), and the Internal Revenue Service (800.829.0433).


Protect Yourself !

Protecting Your Personally Identifiable Information (PII)

Your personally identifiable information, or PII, is any information that can be used to uniquely point to who you are. Some examples of PII are your Social Security Number, driver’s license number, and credit card number. Keeping your PII safe is important for many reasons, one of which is keeping your identity secure. If your PII is compromised, scammers can use it to gain even more PII. If that happens, they can assume your identity to make purchases or exploit your bank account.

The first step in keeping your PII secure is to verify that people are who they say they are. If you get a call from someone claiming to be from your bank, for example, don’t hand over your PII without asking any questions. Instead, ask the caller to verify your other information, and have them give you a phone number where they can be reached. If they are hesitant to do either of those things, there’s a good chance you are dealing with a scammer.

Unfortunately, you can’t always trust your caller ID, either: Scammers can “spoof” a company’s phone number, meaning that when a scammer calls, the actual company name will show up. So, be sure to ask them verifying questions!

You can take additional measures to secure your PII, such as shredding documents with sensitive information, mailing important documents from the post office instead of putting them in the mailbox, doing your online banking from a privately used computer, and leaving your Social Security card in a secure spot in your home.

For more information, read the Department of Homeland Security’s handbook on safeguarding your PII.

Stay Informed about the Latest Scams

According to Money Gram, over 4 billion phishing emails are sent each day in an attempt to trick unsuspecting victims into providing personally identifiable information (PII). These emails ask people for their financial account information in a malicious attempt to get their money. These phishing attempts include lottery scams, overpaid check scams, fake sweepstakes notifications, and scammers posing as oversees immigrants who are offering you money.

7 Red Flags That You’re Getting Scammed

The first step in protecting your identity is to know what to look for. Below are 7 red flags to tip you off that you might be getting scammed.

  1. The company or person does not provide you with an address or phone number where they can be reached.
  2. They require you to act immediately for you to reap the benefits of their offer.
  3. The pitch sounds too good to be true.
  4. You’re asked to wire money to a third party, usually in another country.
  5. When you try to navigate away from the website, the site hijacks your browser’s back button so that you cannot leave the website (or creates pop-up boxes that force you to stay on the website).
  6. You receive an official-looking envelope in the mail, even though you’ve never heard of the company.
  7. When you Google the company’s name, your search yields the company’s name along with words like “review,” “complaint,” “scam,” and “fraud.”

What to Do If You’re Scammed

As soon as you think your information has been compromised, report the scamming incident to regulatory authorities such as:

What Nelnet Does to Protect its Borrowers

To protect your information, Nelnet complies with all security regulations and enacts extra measures to ensure that your PII stays safe. Some of these safety measures include:

  • Omitting or truncating PII on statements and correspondence
  • Checking our safety controls to ensure regulatory compliance
  • Encrypting and securing our digital information
  • Making sure that all of our digital devices are secure

Who to Contact at Nelnet for Help

If you would like to report fraudulent activity related to your Nelnet account, please fill out our Anonymous Reporting Form here.

Terms to Know

  • Social Engineering—the art of manipulating people into performing actions or divulging confidential information.
  • Phishing—the attempt to acquire information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.
  • Vishing—the criminal practice of using social engineering over the telephone, usually using features facilitated by Voice over IP (VoIP), for the purpose of gaining private personal and financial information.
  • Spear Phishing—phishing attempts directed at specific individuals or companies.
  • Whaling—phishing attacks that are directed at senior executives and other high-profile targets within a business.
  • Evil Twins—the creation of a fake wireless network that looks similar to legitimate public networks in places like airports, hotels, and coffee shops. Whenever someone logs on to the bogus network, fraudsters will try to capture their passwords and/or credit card information.