Protecting Your Identity

  • Monitor the balances of your financial accounts. Look for unexplained charges or withdrawals.
  • Obtain frequent credit reports (free from all three reporting agencies in Massachusetts).
  • Place passwords on credit card, bank and phone accounts.
  • Avoid using easily available information like your mother’s maiden name, your birth date, the last four numbers of your SSN or your phone number or a series of consecutive numbers.
  • Secure personal information in your home especially if you have roommates.
  • Find out how your personal information is handled by workplaces and businesses that collect your personal information.
  • Carry only the identification information and credit and debit cards you actually need when you go out.
  • Shred any information you are discarding which contains personal identifying information.
  • Protect all PIN numbers and change them frequently. Just like passwords on the computer, a PIN is a confidential code issued to you, that lets you have access to your account. Memorize your PIN and never give it out to anyone. Never write your PIN on your debit or credit card or on a piece of paper in your wallet.
  • Use the ATM safely. Be aware of others waiting behind you. Position yourself in front of the keyboard to prevent anyone from seeing your PIN. If something looks out of place, unusual or disturbed on the machine, choose another one in case a skimming device has been covertly placed on a legitimate machine.