LANSING – As part of the Michigan Department of Attorney General’s continued commitment to support and protect Michigan consumers, Attorney General Dana Nessel today announced a new consumer protection initiative to provide identity theft victims with resources and guidance to minimize damage caused by identity theft.
Michigan Identity Theft Support (MITS) is an extension of the department’s Consumer Protection Team. MITS staff is dedicated to helping victims navigate the challenges of identity theft. The signs of identity theft, the various types of identity theft, and the steps to combat it are among the resources available to Michiganders on the MITS website.
“We know the first line of defense in protecting Michigan consumers from those focused on stealing from them is arming them with information, so it is our goal at the Department of Attorney General to equip as many people as we can with the tools to safeguard their personal information,” said Nessel. “We recognize, however, that spreading the word isn’t always enough and MITS is here to assist when you’re not sure where or who else to turn to.”
The MITS website identifies six steps for consumers to follow to determine if they have been a victim of identity theft, identify what specifically has been compromised, who to contact, and how to request further assistance:
— Review identity theft warning signs to determine if you may be a victim of identity theft.
— Determine which personally identifiable information (PII) may have been compromised.
— Contact your financial institution (e.g., bank, credit union, etc.).
— Check your credit report and place a freeze on your credit, if necessary.
– File a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Identity Theft Report or police report.
— If you have completed the steps above and still need assistance, complete the MITS Request for Identity Theft Assistance form.
People in Michigan and across the nation spend more time on digital devices as the workplace has shifted to homes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, scammers are actively seeking to take advantage of people by sending out bogus emails and text messages that prompt a victim to click on a malicious link or provide personal information. From robocalls to internet advertisements, Michiganders must remain on high alert.
MITS encourages Michiganders to protect themselves from identity theft by ensuring their sensitive information is secure — whether on paper, online, stored on a computer, or a mobile device. There are four main ways to protect your personally identifiable information:
— Know who you share information with;
— Store and dispose of your personal information securely;
— Ask questions before deciding to share personal information; and
— Maintain appropriate security on your computers and other electronic devices.
If someone has exhausted the steps on the MITS website and still needs guidance or assistance, they may complete the Request for Identity Theft Assistance form. This form will aid the MITS team in determining how they can best assist.
For people who have reviewed the resources on the MITS webpage and are still unsure of what to do and need to speak with someone, they can request a phone consultation online via this form.
Due to a separate state process in place to support victims of identity theft related to the Unemployment Insurance Agency, MITS is unable to assist with those situations. Anyone who thinks they may be a victim of identity theft or fraud pertaining to unemployment insurance benefits should contact the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity.
For those who may have a different consumer protection issue or simply have a question, it’s important to remember that your connection to consumer protection is just a click or phone call away. Consumer complaints can be filed online at the Attorney General’s website, or by calling 877-765-8388.
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