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Massachusetts Identity Theft Laws

It seems like every day we hear about someone whose identity was stolen, credit cards run up, or even mortgages taken out in their name. So what does the Bay State do to protect its citizens from these nefarious thieves? Here is a brief overview of identity theft laws in Massachusetts.

Identity Theft

The crime of identity theft involves the theft or use of another person's personal identifiable information, such as his or her Social Security number and birth date, to open credit accounts, access personal records and finances, and commit other illegal acts.

Identity Theft Laws in Massachusetts

Each state has its own identity theft laws. The details of identity theft statutes in Massachusetts are listed below.

Code Section

Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 266, §37E (2000)

Classification of Crime/Penalties

Identity theft is a criminal offense Imprisonment up to 2 years, or fine up to $5,000, or both; perpetrator shall be ordered to make restitution for costs to correct credit history and costs of civil/administrative proceeding to satisfy debt, or other obligation resulting from crime

Who May Prosecute

Any prosecuting authority

Exemptions to Identity Theft Laws


Civil Lawsuit Allowed?


Civil Remedies Available




Preventing Identity Theft

There are several ways to protect yourself against identity theft:

  • Keep your personal records safe;
  • Watch your personal belongings, purses, and wallets;
  • Carry only essential documents, credit cards, and identification cards;
  • Keep your Social Security number protected;
  • Create strong passwords and keep them secret;
  • Be protective of your personal information over the phone; and
  • Protect your computer.

Notify the Credit Bureaus

If you think you've been a victim of identity theft, you should contact the three (3) nationwide credit bureaus immediately to set up a fraud alert. The fraud alert will tell banks and other creditors to take extra steps to verify your identity before issuing credit in your name, however it will not completely stop credit in your name. A fraud alert is free and can last 90 days. You can also request an extended seven-year fraud alert and provide a police report.

Related Resources for Massachusetts Identity Theft Laws:

Identity theft laws are constantly evolving to keep up with criminals.  You can contact a Massachusetts Internet attorney in your area if you would like legal advice regarding an identity theft case. For more tips on how to avoid becoming a victim and how you might recover from the crime, you can visit FindLaw's Identity Theft section and Identity Theft FAQ.

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