Protecting personal information has never been more important for consumers and there are simple things that can be done to help keep it safe, said Attorney General George Jepsen, who offered the “Top 10” tips for data security.
1. Stop and think before posting any information online. Using Facebook or Twitter to let the world know you are “on vacation” may also be an open-door invitation to criminals.
2. Pay attention when enabling location services on your phone or other mobile device. When enabled, your location can be determined in posts to sites like Facebook and embedded in digital photographs.
3. Monitor and strengthen your security settings on social media. It can help with early detection of any account breaches/unauthorized access. For example, on Facebook, controls can be changed under Settings and Security to require login approvals from devices you haven’t previously authorized; notification when your account is being accessed, and check/end active sessions of your Facebook account (helpful if you forgot to log-out in public place, etc.)
5. Avoid using public computers to access personal or private information. The connection may not be secured and information may be tracked or logged.
6. Never provide sensitive information, such as your Social Security Number, unless there is a legitimate purpose, such as for employment or health care reasons. Always ask what the information is being used for.
7. Never give out any personal information, such as Social Security or credit card number, in response to an unsolicited email or telephone call. If the email or call claims to be from a company you do business with, call them first to confirm the contact is legitimate. If not, do not provide information or click on links within the suspect email.
8. Encrypt your wireless router. Also, following the manufacturer’s instructions, change the password and turn off the feature that openly broadcasts your network’s SSID.
9. Encrypt any private or secret information sent through email.
10. Protect your information and identity off-line: Review your credit reports and report all inaccuracies. You are entitled to one free report from each of the three major credit rating bureaus annually (annualcreditreport.com); shred personal letters and bills before discarding; review credit card and bank statements for any fraudulent charges.
Anyone who believes they may be a victim of identity theft or a data privacy breach, or who needs answers about data privacy protection, is encouraged to contact the Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection department at 860-808-5400.