Due to several recent large data breaches, Maine Attorney General William J. Schneider cautioned Mainers to be alert to the possibility of scam emails asking them to confirm their private financial information.

“These data breaches may have provided scammers with the opportunity to try to trick Maine residents into providing their account information,” said Schneider in a press release.

“Consumers may receive scam emails that look as though they are from a company they have done business with in the past, requesting that they respond by confirming their financial information.

“Maine residents should be aware that none of the actual companies involved will send an email requesting information. Never reply to an email by giving your account numbers, Social Security number or other financial information,” he said.

In addition, Attorney General Schneider reminded Mainers that having their information in the hands of an unauthorized person does not necessarily mean they have become a victim of identity theft. Identity theft does not occur until an unauthorized person fraudulently uses that information to secure money, goods or services in another person’s name.

A security freeze or “file freeze” may be placed on an individual’s credit report as added protection against identity theft. With a freeze in place, the credit reporting agency may not release a credit report without the individual’s authorization.

People may place a security freeze on their credit file by sending a written request to the three major credit reporting agencies. The security freeze is provided at no charge to consumers who have been victims of identity theft.

Maine’s file freeze law is found at the following link: mainelegislature.org/legis/statutes/10/title10sec1313-C.html

Consumers concerned about data breaches may contact the Maine Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Division at 626-8800.

National credit reporting agency contact information is as follows:

Equifax

P.O. Box 740241

Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

1-800-685-1111

For security freezes contact 800-525-6285; equifax.com/answers/help/security-freeze/en_cp

Experian

P.O. Box 2104

Allen, Texas 75013-0949

1-888-397-3742

For security freezes, contact 888-397-3742; experian.com/consumer/security_freeze.html

Trans Union

P.O. Box 1000

Chester, PA 19022

1-800-916-8800

For security freezes, contact 800-680-7289; transunion.com/corporate/personal/fraudIdentityTheft/fraudPrevention/securityFreeze.page