Identity theft occurs when a crook steals key pieces of personal information, which may include a name, address, date of birth or social security number, to gain access to a person’s financial accounts. Armed with this information, an identity thief may open new credit or financial accounts, buy cars, rent an apartment or set up a utility in someone’s name.

Must do tips to protect your identity:

  • Do not leave mail in your mail box overnight.
  • Do use the blue postal collection boxes.
  • Do use a shredder to tear up unwanted documents.
  • Do review your credit report annually.

If you suspect that you are a victim of Identity theft:

  • If the crime involved the U.S. Mail Service contact you nearest U.S. Postal Inspection Service Office.
  • If the crime involves counterfeit credit cards or computer hacking, report it to the Secret Service.
  • Report the crime to your local police department and get an Identity Theft Affidavit.
  • Check whether the major credit reporting agencies have accounts in your name that were opened without your consent. Ask them to place a fraud alert on your file.

If you are a victim of Identity Theft, you should download and review the Step by Step Manual on Identity Theft.

Fraud Alerts
Call the toll free fraud number of any one of the 3 major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on you credit report. Fraud alerts can help prevent an identity thief from opening additional accounts in your name. As soon as the credit bureau confirms the fraud alert, the other 2 credit bureaus will automatically be notified to place fraud alerts.

Close Accounts
Close the accounts that you know or believe that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. When disputing new unauthorized accounts, many banks and creditors will accept the Identity Theft Affidavit.

File Complaint
File an online complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or call the FTC's Identity Theft Hotline toll free at 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338).

The FTC is the federal clearing house for identity theft complaints. Although the FTC does not have the authority to bring criminal complaints, they help victims of ID theft by providing them information on the Web to help resolve the problems that result from this crime.

Activity Hold Request
Use this form to request that an activity hold be placed on your license or identification card if you believe your information has been compromised in any way. Complete an sign the form. Bring the completed form to any full service Registry of Motor Vehicle (RMV) office for processing.

Compromised Identity Letter
This is a letter to the Director of Enforcement Services.

License and Identity Update Application
Use this form to renew a class A, B, C, D, or M license; obtain a duplicate permit, license, Massachusetts identification, or liquor identification; or reinstate a license, or change any information (i.e. name or address) on an existing class A, B, C, D, or M license or identification. Complete the General Applicant Information section and all other sections (including the Signature section) related to your transaction. All questions in the required Information section and the Voter Registration section must be answered regardless of the type of transaction. Bring the completed form to any full service RMV branch office with the appropriate fee.

Visit these Websites for more information on Identity Theft:

Websites for the major credit reporting agencies:

Do not respond to any of these scams, not even to remove your name from the list:

  • Special VISA/Mastercard Scam Alert - Confirmed: Should you get a phone call from a VISA or Mastercard "Employee" trying to confirm the unusual spending activity and that person asks for the code on the back of your credit card - do not give that number out. They will sound very professional but may not be from that company. If you suspect a scam contact VISA or Mastercard Fraud numbers on your credit card to confirm that they made that call and deal with the situation that way.
  • Account Verification or "Phisher" Scams: For several years, individuals have purchases domain names that are similar to those of legitimate companies. It may be in a form such as abccompany-accounts.net. The real company is abccompany but it does not have a "-accounts" in its domain.
  • Sign In Rosters: There are some companies and government agencies that ask you to put your name and social security number (SSN) on a sign in roster. Be aware that identity thieves may sign up toward the end of a page (purposely) so that they can copy and collect personal identifying information. If you encounter this, the best way to handle the situation is to write the following instead of your SSN "will provide in person".
  • Help Move Money From My Country, Aka Nigerian 419 Scam: Everyone has received an email from a representative of a foreign government asking you to help move money from 1 account to another. This scam still nets $100 million annually so people are still falling for it.
  • Canadian/Netherlands Lottery: "You have won." Unless you entered a lottery or bought a ticket to win a prize these are scams. Remember playing foreign lotteries is illegal.
  • "Free Credit Report" Emails: Almost all of the "free credit report" emails you receive are scams. Either the person is trying to find out your social security number or will be billing you for a service later on.
  • "You Have Won a Free Gift:" You may receive either a phone call or email about a free gift or prize. You just need to send your credit card to take care of the shipping and handling. Do not. Free means free, there should be no charge.
  • Questionnaires: This is the time of year when you get an email holiday card from an "old friend". It may come from a chat room friend. These include questions that help the person sending it find out your birth date, passwords, (Favorite Things) and even blatantly may ask for your SSN.