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Everett, MA
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Protect yourself:
  • NEVER provide your personal information in response to an unsolicited request, whether it is over the phone or over the Internet. E-mails and Internet pages created by phishers may look exactly like the real thing. They may even have a fake padlock icon that ordinarily is used to denote a secure site. If you did not initiate the communication, you should not provide any information. A financial institution or government agency would never send an alert asking you to verify your account information online.
  • Do not be intimidated by an e-mail or caller who suggests dire consequences if you do not immediately provide or verify financial information.
  • Be especially wary of e-mails concealing their true identity. If someone sends you an e-mail using a mail header that has no useful identifying data (e.g.,, contains misspelled words and/or awkward phrasing, that may be an indication that the person is hiding something and is not legitimate.
  • Read e-mail only from senders you know and do not open suspicious e-mail attachments.
  • Do not use links in an e-mail to get to a bank or credit card website. If you believe the contact may be legitimate, contact the financial institution or credit card company yourself. You can find phone numbers and websites on the monthly statements you receive, or you can look the company up in a phone book or on the Internet. The key is that you should be the one to initiate the contact, using contact information that you have verified yourself.
  • Look for the "lock" icon on the browser status bar, or look for "https" in the web address. Both are indications that the information is secure and encrypted during transmission.
  • Review account statements regularly to ensure all charges are correct. If your account statement is late in arriving, call your financial institution or credit card company to find out why. If your financial institution or credit card company offers electronic account access, periodically review activity online to catch suspicious activity.
  • Remove mail promptly from your mailbox. Never use your mailbox for outgoing mail (no matter how safe you think your neighborhood is) and shred pre-approved credit card offers before you throw them away. Identity thieves raid mailboxes for credit card offers and financial statements.
  • Be very careful with receipts. Make sure you have them when you leave the store or ATM and do not throw them into public trash cans.
  • Be creative when you select a password. Don't be obvious like using the last four digits of your social security number, phone number, address, birth date or any format that could easily be decoded by thieves. The most difficult passwords to crack are those that use a combination of letters, numbers and symbols.
  • Limit the number of ID and credit cards you carry. If they are stolen, you'll have fewer to replace.
  • Whenever possible, use online statements - paper today is the cause of more actual instances of ID fraud than are electronic thefts.
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