Identity Theft Prevention

The UAF Office of the Bursar understands the importance of preventing and detecting identity theft, and subsequent support the victim may need in helping to report, repair, and respond to such a crime. To assist in the prevention of identity theft, The UAF Office of the Bursar will:

  1. Make sure the door to the UAF Office of the Bursar is locked at all times.  Only authorized employees are permitted in the UAF Office of the Bursar.
  2. Make every effort to secure customer information during times when their desk/office is unattended.
  3. Make sure all external office doors are locked before the last person leaves the premises. 
  4. Shred all sensitive information and screen prints of student’s account information as a form of destruction at the end of each day. 

As a result, The UAF Office of the Bursar has identified the following activities that have the greatest potential of creating risk to unsuspecting victims as it relates to identity theft.  The UAF Office of the Bursar clearly identifiable red flags are:

Address Changes

While the Office of Admission and the Registrar (OAR) is solely responsible for maintaining the accuracy and security of student addresses, the UAF Office of the Bursar from time to time receives updated address information, especially from third party collection agencies.  The UAF Office of the Bursar's guideline when a request to update a student’s address is received is (1) if received from a student, update the mailing address to the most current and (2) if information received is from a 3rd party such as a collection agency or returned mail, update the student’s mailing address in the student information system (Banner). In order to ensure accuracy, students should be referred to UAOnline to update their address or to OAR.

Address changes received by OAR are received through several channels:

  1. The first channel for address changes is through a walk-in, face-to-face interaction with an employee of OAR. A change of address is initiated by the staff member providing the student with a Change of Address Form. The student then completes the form indicating their new address. However, before this Form is completed, positive photo identification is made of the person standing in front of the staff member. The Change of Address Form is then used to update the student’s record. Risk of identity theft is minimal since the photo identification must match the student requesting the address change.  
  2. A second channel that can be used in the OAR to implement an address change is through e-mail or fax.  At times, upon sending out correspondence, i.e. refund checks, some envelopes are returned with a new address indicated on the front of the envelope. The student may be contacted to complete a Change of Address Form.   OAR will accept a request through e-mail or fax as long as a photo identification is included that matches the student requesting the address change. This address is then updated in the student’s record and the correspondence is resent. The risk of identity theft is minimal in this case due to the fact that the correspondence is usually initiated by the University. 
  3. OAR and the Office of the Bursar will accept address changes by telephone once the individual’s identity has been positively identified by successfully answering a series of questions.

Financial Aid Disbursement

There is potential risk to the University if a student enrolled using someone else’s identity, registers for classes, be awarded financial aid (this would mean the “student” completed the FAFSA) took the overpayment of financial aid (a refund check) and then dropped all of their classes.

Reporting Identity Theft

In the event identity theft occurs and/or reported to the UAF Office of the Bursar, the following procedures will be followed:

  • The staff member/student worker will notify their supervisor immediately.
  • The staff member/student worker and the victim will brief a brief description of what took place, citing transactions, dates, amounts and other documentation that is available.
  • The supervisor will notify the Program Administrator.

The UAF Office of the Bursar full time staff and part time staff and student workers have been informed of the Red Flag Rule, our areas of vulnerability, what to watch out for, and what to do in case identity theft occurs and is reported.

The UAF Office of the Bursar Practices and Procedures for the Rule

It will be the practice of the UAF Office of the Bursar to:

  • Verify identification for any student, faculty, or staff requesting services.  The identification should be scrutinized to verify that it has not been altered or forged.
  • Verify that the picture on the identification provided matches the appearance of the customer presenting the identification.
  • Verify that the information on the identification is consistent with other information on file at the University, particularly on the customer’s account.
  • Verify that requests for information updates have not been altered or forged, or that the paperwork gives the appearance of having been destroyed and reassembled.
  • Not share any more information with a customer than is documented in the student system if there is a full FERPA restriction on the account.  If additional information is requested, the student should be forwarded to the Office of Admissions and Registrar for assistance.
  • Report to supervisor without assisting the customer if the student ID number provided is the same as that submitted by another customer.
  • Report to supervisor if an account is used in a manner not consistent with regular patterns of activity, i.e. if a student receives more than one Short Term loan at a time, or over the period of one term.
  • Attempt to contact the student if mail is returned twice as undeliverable although transactions continue to be conducted with their account.
  • Notify Credit and Collection Manager when address information received from 3rd party collection agency is different from mailing address in student system. 
  • Investigate and verify the correctness of unauthorized charges or transactions assessed by the UAF Office of the Bursar in connection with a customer’s account.  If there are questions regarding the correctness of departmental charges, refer them on to the appropriate department for resolution.
  • Notify the Program Administrator immediately if the University is notified by a student, a victim of identity theft, a law enforcement authority, or any other person that it has opened, discovered, or manipulated a fraudulent account for a person engaged in identity theft.
  • Not provide any information to an individual claiming to be the victim of identity theft without first contacting the Program Administrator. If a student needs assistance of this type, the request must be in writing with detailed information requested as well as proof of positive identification and proof of claim of identity theft (police report or FTC affidavit of identity theft).
  • Ensure that customers who call are not given information on an account if they cannot provide the student ID number or name.  Be cautious about callers who attempt to get financial information without providing any substantive knowledge about the account.

Oversight, Training, Third Party Compliance and Update

Due to the sensitive nature of this topic, the Director within the UAF Office of the Bursar will maintain responsibility for the implementation and ongoing support of this regulation.  Training for Red Flag will be conducted annually along with other compliance training affecting the UAF Office of the Bursar.  This training will be conducted at staff meetings (if possible) and is mandatory for all staff.  If students or staff are not able to attend in staff meeting, the director will update their staff when they are available.

Currently there are no Third Party contracts in the UAF Office of the Bursar that need updating with compliance verbiage, nor are there vendors that need to report compliance.

This guideline will be updated at least annually based on new processes and procedures.

Social Security Number Guideline

To protect the security of students, the University of Alaska Fairbanks assigns a student ID (SID) number that is different from a student’s social security number (SSN). The SID is used to identify a student’s educational records and the SSN will never be recorded on transcripts.

UAF is required to obtain a student’s SSN for federal financial aid and tax reporting purposes. Privacy Act Notice—Section 6109 of the Internal Revenue Code requires a student to provide their correct SSN to persons who must file information returns with the IRS to report certain information. The IRS uses the number for identification purposes and to help verify the accuracy of a student’s tax return. As a result, The University of Alaska may use a student’s SSN for a student’s tax documents (1098-T), Permanent Fund Dividend garnishment, and collections efforts conducted by a third party.

For more information regarding the UA Identity Theft Prevention Program, visit https://www.alaska.edu/records/id-theft/.

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