Protecting Yourself in the Midst of Identity Theft

September 25, 2017


September was an eventful month - DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) changes, hurricanes, earthquakes, imposter emails, and of course, the Equifax data breach.  Only scammers could find a way to make bad news even worse.  BBB serving New Mexico and Southwest Colorado is concerned about fraudsters taking advantage of confusion over the latest news events and urges caution:

  • DACA: The Trump Administration announced the termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allowed undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to remain in the country.
  • Hurricane/Earthquake Aftermath: Texas continues clean-up efforts from Hurricane Harvey, Florida and the Caribbean begin the long work of recovering from Hurricane Irma, and Mexico is recovering from a massive earthquake.
  • BBB Imposter Email:  Last month, scammers used the BBB name and logo to fraudulently claim companies are “violating the Fair Labor Standards Act,” the “Safety and Health Act,” and other ominous sounding notices.
  • Equifax Data Breach:  Last month, credit reporting agency Equifax announced that a data breach compromised the personal information of 143 million people.


What do these events have in common? IDENTITY THEFT!


While BBB cannot provide legal advice on any matters, we urge consumers to avoid potential immigration, environmental, and other scams by pro-actively seeking competent legal assistance if necessary, rather than responding to unsolicited appeals.  BBB reminds you to protect your identity when dealing with tragedy aftermath.  Scams are designed to either steal your money now, or steal your identity now in order to steal your money later. Scammers have all kinds of techniques to collect personally identifiable information (PII). Once they have it, they can effectively become you, using your identity to open accounts, file taxes, or obtain medical coverage. 


Remember these 10 tips to protect yourself:

  1. Never send money to someone you have never met face-to-face.
  2. Don’t click on links or open attachments in unsolicited email. Links can download malware onto your computer and/or steal your identity. Be cautious even with email that looks familiar; it could be fake.
  3. Don’t believe everything you see. Scammers are great at mimicking official seals, fonts, and other details. Just because a website or email looks official does not mean that it is. Even Caller ID can be faked.
  4. Never share personally identifiable information with someone who has contacted you unsolicited, whether it’s over the phone, by email, on social media, even at your front door. This includes banking and credit card information, your birthdate, and Social Security/Social Insurance numbers.
  5. Don’t be pressured to act immediately. Scammers typically try to make you think something is scarce or a limited time offer.
  6. Use secure, traceable transactions when making payments for goods, services, taxes, and debts. Do not pay by wire transfer, prepaid money card, gift card, or other non-traditional payment method.
  7. Whenever possible, work with local businesses that have proper identification, licensing, and insurance.
  8. Be cautious about what you share on social media and consider only connecting with people you already know.
  9. Check with BBB: BBB warns consumers and businesses regularly about scams, latest news, and updates on how to protect yourself.  Stay informed by going to 
  10. Use Resources Available: For these and other events, stay informed and do your research.  Useful resources include;,,,,, and



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