July 14, 2017 – In the age of the internet, protecting your identity is becoming increasingly difficult. Technology makes purchasing and paying bills online more efficient, while also making it easier for people to get their hands on your information and engage in fraudulent activities. Use these helpful tips to avoid identity theft and protect your personal information:
- Keep track of your financial records, bank statements and account information. Watch out for purchases and withdrawals you did not make.
- Do not respond to emails or messages online that request personal information. Be cautious and do not provide any personal information, like your social security number or credit card number, via email or phone.
- Create passwords that are difficult to guess – use numbers and symbols when possible.
- Do not enter personal information on computers in public spaces, like public libraries or while using public wi-fi.
- Protect your computer. Update your virus protection software regularly and do not download files from strangers.
If you believe you have been the victim of identity theft, follow these steps:
- Promptly report the crime to your local police department. Make sure to file a police report.
- Contact the companies where you believe the fraud occurred, like your bank or credit card company, and ask them to freeze your accounts.
- Contact the credit bureau to place a fraud alert on your credit file. This alert ensures that creditors must contact you before opening any new accounts or making changes to any existing accounts you may have.
- Visit gov or call 1-877-438-4338 to report the crime and create an identity theft recovery plan.
For more information on scams and identity theft please visit the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Consumer Resources site found here. If a legal issue arises and you would like to speak with a lawyer, please contact the Boston Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service at 617-742-0625 or submit an online request form here today!