AG Nessel announces new initiative to fight identity theft

Published: Apr. 1, 2021 at 4:15 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced on Thursday a new consumer protection initiative that provides resources and guidance to reduce the damage caused by identity theft.

It’s called Michigan Identity Theft Support (MITS) and it’s an extension of the department’s Consumer Protection Team. MITS staff are trained to help victims navigate the challenges of identity theft. On their website they also have resources for recognizing the signs of identity theft, the various types of identity theft, and the steps to combat it.

“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.”

It’s a field of consumer protection that is only likely to grow. People in Michigan and across the nation spend more time on digital devices as the technology evolves, and particularly as the workplace has shifted to homes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Accordingly, 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.

Whether they are called swindlers, charlatans, snake oil salesmen, con men or scammers, the basics of the game has always been the same: Tricking people into handing over their money. The MITS team is hoping to empower the community to prevent that from happening.

In addition to their online resources, 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. They suggest 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, which will help the MITS team determine how they can help.

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