National Data Privacy Day and how you can stay safe

National Data Privacy Day and how you can stay safe

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - This past weekend, it was National Data Privacy Day. With a recent case of card skimmers being used in the area, man are wondering "how can you stay safe from scammers?"

On the heels of last week's local data breach, and the upcoming tax season, cybersecurity is at the forefront of issues facing not just us as Americans, but is impacting the community.

If data privacy isn't something you've thought about, maybe it should be. Local authorities think there are still victims out there.

Remember, never enter your debit pin at a gas pump.

"Even as of late Friday, someone called and said, 'I heard it on the news' Friday night left a message, and said, 'I checked my checking account, and used my debit card, and I'm also a victim,' " explained  Anita Lopez, Auditor for Lucas County said,

Lopez said, there is a lead in the case, but authorities fear that not only were victims targeted in Lucas and Fulton Counties, but possibly Wood county and beyond as well.

Maurice Gibson, assistant dean with University of Phoenix, provided us with some tips for how to stay safe from scammers:

  • Check out as a guest when making online purchases. Storing credit card information online can make online shopping more convenient, but it also can make it easier for cyber criminals to steal information. Instead, check out as a guest so that your personal information is not stored across multiple websites. Additionally, take a moment to remove all stored credit cards from online retailers.
  • Enable multi-factor authentication for password protected websites (or pay with PayPal).
  • Check the security settings of your email and online retailers to see if they offer multi-factor authentication, like text confirmation when logging in. This extra step of authentication adds a layer of security to help keep your information safe.
  • PayPal is another good security option. With PayPal, you will not have to disclose your credit card information online when making a purchase.
  • Pay with a credit card with a low limit rather than a debit card. If you do choose to store credit card information on retailers’ websites, opt instead to use a credit card with a low limit. Credit cards offer better consumer fraud protection than debit cards and many have zero liability policies or a low capped liability.
  • Avoid providing bank information via email. Most financial institutions have secure message centers within their systems that allow consumers to communicate safely. If you must send financial authorizations and information via email, make sure you are encrypting the transmission of that information.

Malicious actors can watch your traffic and learn how you communicate with your institution. When the moment is right, they can send an email posing as you to your financial institution authorizing transfers you know nothing about, until it is too late.

The tips below are common mistakes people make when using technology. These are from also from Mr. Gibson:

  • Not turning off photo geotagging, which hackers and thieves can use to find you and steal devices with your personal information.
  • Accepting prizes, free offers and advertising scams that require you enter your financial information. If it's too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Forgetting to update software. Unused, outdated software might provide hackers with a backdoor entrance to your device's data.
  • Trusting a URL that may be similar, but not the same as what you are looking for. Make sure you trust and verify the website to make sure it's not a spoof with a similar URL.

"As far as best practice is concerned, I would stay away from websites you don't recognize. Stick with big names you can look up. Check the Better Business Bureau to make sure it's a company that's reputable," recommended Scott Halibur, Special Agent for the FBI. "There's lots of fraudulent websites out there that are willing to steal your money if you're willing to give them your credit card number."

Halibur also said that if you think you've been a victim of identity theft, it is a good idea to contact the Federal Trade Commission here right away.

Also, try to avoid commenting on nostalgic posts on social media. Hackers use information like the year you were born, where you went to high school, what your first job was, and so on to try to figure out your passwords.

Remember, if it's not stored or posted, it is less likely to be found.

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