— Did you know? This Maine law can help protect your identity – for free! Even with a data breach such as the one recently reported by Equifax, turning on a credit freeze can minimize damage from the data theft. Each of us has a credit report which compiles our credit history – bank loans, credit cards mortgages, etc. – into one place.  This credit report is used by banks and lenders to determine our worthiness as borrowers. Before buying a house or …

— Look out for fake genealogy sites on the Internet. These scam sites pull information from public databases to make it look like they have lots of information about you and your lineage. Their goal is to get you to register with your credit card, so they can steal it. It’s a good idea to research the site before you sign up. Do an internet search on the site name with “reviews” and “scams” and see what comes up. Be a …

— Do you use a smartphone?  Do you have a passcode?  Over a third of all smartphone users do not take this simple security step, leaving themselves vulnerable to identity theft and fraud should their smartphone get lost or stolen. Make your password difficult to guess, avoiding a sequential string like 1-2-3-4. Use a mix of numbers and letters if your smartphone allows it. Be a fraud fighter!  If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam. Report scams …

— If you’re planning to move this summer, be on the lookout for unlicensed movers and fake moving companies. You should get at least three quotes from prospective moving companies before hiring one. Be aware of movers that don’t send an estimator to your house beforehand, demand cash or a large deposit up front, and/or have unrealistic low-ball offers. Make sure you know whom you’re working with before you pay any money. Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a …

— If you’re planning to move this summer, be on the lookout for unlicensed movers and fake moving companies. You should get at least three quotes from prospective moving companies before hiring one. Be aware of movers that don’t send an estimator to your house beforehand, demand cash or a large deposit up front, and/or have unrealistic low-ball offers. Make sure you know whom you’re working with before you pay any money. Be a fraud fighter!  If you can spot a …

— 8/2 SCAM ALERT: Beware of New IRS Imposter Scam There’s a new twist to the IRS imposter scam. Scammers call taxpayers to claim the IRS has already mailed them two certified letters about an outstanding tax bill, but the letters were returned as undeliverable. The scammer threatens immediate arrest unless the tax bill is paid using a prepaid debit card. The IRS and its authorized private collection agencies do not accept prepaid debit cards, wire transfers or gift cards as …

— 6/28 SCAM ALERT Scammers are creating fake websites that look like known and trusted news sites to sell “brain booster” pills. They post bogus articles about the pills with endorsements from people like Stephen Hawking and Anderson Cooper (neither has endorsed any such product). The site then links you to the sales page for the pills where you can place an order with a credit or debit card. The scammers claim the pills will lead to an increase in concentration …

— 6/7 SCAM ALERT Buying a gift card for a graduate in your life? Choose wisely. In the store, thieves can remove gift cards from racks, copy the codes, and then dial the number on the back of the card to learn when they were activated and their value for online spending or to clone cards for in-store use. Purchase gift cards directly from a store cashier, customer service counter or the company’s website. The cashier should scan and activate the …

— The US Postal Service and Department of Justice are warning people about mass mailing scams. These mailings appear to be personalized but they are actually mass-produced form letters promising wealth or good fortune. They inform you, for example, that you’ve won a big prize but you have to pay processing fees or taxes to claim it. Never send money to receive sweepstakes or lottery winnings – consumers are never required to pay money to receive these kinds of awards. If …

— 10/12 SCAM ALERT It pays to look closely at your credit card statement. You may see a “test charge” – a small charge, like $1. It may seem insignificant but it could be a sign that a scammer has stolen your credit card and is testing it with a small amount to see if it works. Some merchants legitimately place a test charge on your account – like gas stations and hotels; these charges eventually drop off. But if you …