Data Security and Online Safety Resources

In January 2019, Governor Baker signed into law House Bill 4806, An Act relative to protecting consumers from security breaches. The new law, along with federal regulations that went into effect in September 2018, provide additional tools and protections for Massachusetts consumers who are impacted by data breaches.

For information about state resources, please visit the websites of the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation and the Office of the Attorney General.

For federal resources, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website at https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/privacy-and-security/data-security.

To freeze your credit:

Equifax:
💻: https://www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/
☎:  (800) 525-6285

Experian:
💻: https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html
☎: 1 (888) 397-3742 

TransUnion:
💻: https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze
☎: (888) 909-8872

Free Credit File Report
💻: www.annualcreditreport.com
☎: 877-322-8228 


Online Safety and Phone Scams/Robocalls

It has been estimated that one in every 10 adults has been a victim of phone based scams, up nearly 60% from the previous year. Like email scams, these numbers are also on the rise. Most phone scammers are after your money and attempt to make you give them information by pressuring you to act fast or threatening you with claims that you owe money. It is important to recognize some tell-tale signs of a phone scam and to never disclose personal information without verifying the call.

Some common signs of a phone scam:

  • “You’ve been specifically selected (for this offer)”

  • “You’ve won one of five valuable prizes”

  • “This investment is low risk and provides a higher return than anywhere else”

  • “You have to make-up your mind right away”

  • “You don’t need to check our company with anyone”

  • “We’ll just put the shipping and handling charges on your credit card”

  • IRS Phone Scam

    A very common phone scam, this involves scammers claiming to be from the IRS requesting immediate payment for overdue payments and threats of jail time if you do not apply. The IRS is aware of this scam and has listed on their website ways to recognize when you are being victimized.

    The IRS will never ask for credit card, debit card, or prepaid card information over the phone, insist that taxpayers use a specific payment method to pay tax obligations, request immediate payment over the phone, and will not take enforcement action immediately following a phone conversation. Taxpayers always receive prior written notification of IRS enforcement action involving IRS tax liens or levies. 

  • Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) Phone Scam

    A common phone scam particularly targeting immigrants and limited English speakers, this involves scammers claiming to be ICE agents and demanding payment in order to avoid deportation. As with the IRS scam, both state and federal government agencies will never demand payment over the phone and will typically send a formal letter as a first step of communication.

If you hear anything that sounds like this, hang up and report these calls to the FTC.

Report Robocalls to the FTC
💻: www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov
☎: 1-888-382-1222

National Do Not Call List
Register your home and mobile numbers, report continued calling
💻: www.donotcall.gov 

Mobile Phone Carrier Robocall Blocking

Elder Hotline
Scam awareness and Telemarketing reporting
☎: 1-888-AG-ELDER (1-888-243-5337)

IRS Identity Protection Information
💻: https://www.irs.gov/identity-theft-fraud-scams 

Mass DOR Identity Theft Information
💻: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/protect-yourself-against-tax-identity-theft

Microsoft Online Safety Resources
Blog: “Online scammers cost time and money. Here’s how to fight back.”
💻: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/digital-skills/online-safety-resources