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Protect personal information on Data Privacy Day, everyday

Release date:

(RALEIGH) Ahead of Data Privacy Day on Sunday, January 28, Attorney General Josh Stein, Rep. Jason Saine, and State Chief Information Risk Officer Maria Thompson are sharing valuable information to help North Carolinians keep their personal information safe.

“Most of us are met with opportunities to share personal information several times in day – whether we’re shopping online, banking on our phones, or connecting with people on social media,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “While technology makes our lives easier and helps to connect with others, it can also create risks. In fact, last year, there were more than 1,000 data breaches reported to my office. That’s why I’m working with Rep. Saine and the General Assembly on the Act to Strengthen Identity Theft Protections and why I’m reminding North Carolinians to protect their personal information.”

“As much as people hear about data breaches, they often times believe it will not happen to them,” said Representative Jason Saine. “Our efforts to secure citizen data are ongoing and evolving through policy, best practices and working together across state government to continue to improve our defenses. Our coming legislation is intended to protect the citizen data that is housed and used by private industry and state government but citizens should be reminded that adding safe data practices to their own online activity helps reduce their exposure.”

“Data Privacy in today’s world is increasingly a concern. The State continues to strive to protect the privacy of its citizens data on a daily basis. But it is important that all citizens, state employees, contractors etc. understand that we all play a role in the protection of our privacy. Data Privacy Day is symbolic of our dedication to serve our citizens by ensuring we put their privacy first, not just today, but every day,” says Maria Thompson, State Chief Information Risk Officer.

Data Privacy Day is a national effort led by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) on January 28 each year. The event educates consumers on ways privacy measures can help them stay safe online and works to show businesses, non-profit organizations and government entities that data privacy is an important business practice.

Below are tips for keeping your data safe:

  • Be careful about what you share online.
    • Avoid sharing information or images that you want to remain completely private, even if you’re using privacy settings. On social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, never post private information like your address or phone number. Be aware that hackers and criminals are capable of using personal information shared online to their advantage, like knowing when you’ll be away from home for a trip or using the information to pose as you. Finally, remember to talk to your kids about online safety.
  • Choose secure passwords.
    • Passwords should be 10 to 12 characters long and should include a mix of letters, numbers and special characters. Avoid passwords that could be easily guessed from information you share on social media, such as kids’ and pets’ names. Keep passwords for all your online accounts, computer and cell phone private and don’t share them, particularly not over the phone, in text messages, or over email.
  • Keep your guard up against scams.
    • Never respond to calls, emails, texts or social media posts that ask you to share your Social Security Number or bank account information. Remember that legitimate businesses and government entities won’t ask you for this information online. Avoid clicking through links that arrive in suspicious, unexpected emails and social media messages.
  • Use privacy settings, but don’t rely on them.
    • Criminals take advantage of personal information shared on social networking sites to help them plan scams and target victims. On social networking sites like Facebook and Instagram, privacy settings are available to help protect your information.
  • Find a Wi-Fi hotspot? Proceed with caution.
    • Free, public Wi-Fi is common and convenient. But remember that connecting your smartphone, laptop, or tablet to unprotected Wi-Fi can put your information at risk. Scammers can use public Wi-Fi to steal your passwords and account numbers to commit identity theft and credit card fraud. Limit activity on public Wi-Fi to surfing only, not checking your bank account or making purchases.
  • If your information is compromised, take action immediately.
    • If you are notified that you may have been affected by a breach, take steps to protect your identity as soon as possible. Immediately change passwords and monitor your credit report and accounts for unusual activity. Also consider a security freeze, which prevents any new lines of credit from being opened in your name.

Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484


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