DeWine Offers Five Ways to Protect Your Identity on Data Privacy Day


Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today outlined tips to help Ohioans protect their personal information on Data Privacy Day, recognized annually on January 28.

“The Internet has created new opportunities but it’s also brought new risks to data privacy and the security of personal information,” Attorney General DeWine said. “Today we’re encouraging people to consider how their information is shared online and to take steps to protect themselves.”

In 2015, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office received more than 1,670 identity theft complaints, an increase of more than 300 from the previous year. It also helped victims clear more than $658,000 in fraudulent charges, according to complaint information.

Attorney General DeWine offered consumers the following tips to help protect their personal information:

Review your privacy settings. Take time to locate the privacy setting on all of your accounts, especially your social media accounts, and decide how much you want to share with others. Update the settings as needed to limit or control what others see about you and your family members.

Read privacy policies. Before entering your information to win a prize, receive a discount, or get notifications from a company, check its privacy policy. Privacy policies generally explain how your information will be used, including whether it will be sold to third parties or used for marketing purposes. Many companies sell and share information with others, which may cause you to receive more emails, phone calls, and other solicitations.

Update your passwords. To help prevent intruders from accessing your personal information, use strong passwords and change them regularly. Use a different password for each program, website, or application you use. Disable automatic login functions on websites, and do not allow your browser to “remember” passwords. Log off from websites and accounts after you are finished using them. Also, set a passcode on your phone or tablet to make it harder for someone else to gain access.

Protect your home network. Use tools like firewalls, router and network passwords, encryption, and anti-virus programs to protect your home Internet connection and ensure that only you and your family have access. Never give someone remote access to your computer based on calls or pop-up messages from people claiming to be from tech support or computer companies. Such messages are signs of a common scam. Giving callers remote access will allow them to see the files and personal information stored on your computer and may put you at risk for identity theft.

Be careful when using free public Wi-Fi networks. If you use free public Wi-Fi, assume everyone can see what you are doing. Avoid disclosing personal information, such as logins, passwords, or credit card numbers, when using public Wi-Fi. In general, limit your use to visiting websites that do not require a login or disclosure of any personal information. Also, verify the specific network name with the store, coffee shop, or other Wi-Fi location before connecting to the network.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office provides cybersecurity education for consumers and organizations throughout the state. To request a Cybersecurity Help, Information, and Protection Program (CHIPP) booklet or to schedule a cybersecurity presentation, contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or 800-282-0515.

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