Attorney General Jepsen Offers Data Privacy and Security Tips for Consumers During National Consumer Protection Week
This week, Attorney General George Jepsen will participate in National Consumer Protection Week, a week long nationwide campaign to encourage individuals to take full advantage of their consumer rights and to be better able to protect themselves from scams and fraud.
“National Consumer Protection Week is an ideal time for each of us to evaluate the steps we’re taking to help protect our personal information and avoid falling victim to cybercrimes and other scams,” said Attorney General Jepsen. " New technologies in consumer markets often lead to new concerns, including concerns about privacy and the security of consumers' personal information. An ounce of prevention – along with some simple precautions especially when online – can make all the difference in avoiding victimization.”
Attorney General Jepsen urges consumers to adopt the following practices in their everyday lives to avoid falling victim to cybercrimes:
Preventing Identity Theft:
Shred, shred, shred all papers with account numbers and other personal or financial information-Many municipalities periodically hold shredding events, which are often publicized through local media and are an effective way to safely dispose of unneeded documents.
Keep PINs and passwords protected and updated-If you use the Internet for banking, bill-paying or other monetary transactions, select secure, difficult-to-guess passwords and PINs, and get in the habit of changing them on a regular basis whenever possible.
Look for bills/invoices/charges for purchases that you never made or collection notices regarding debts that you did not incur.
Responding to Identity Theft:
Check your credit report-Contact all three credit reporting companies above for a copy of your current credit report. If your identity was actually stolen, companies must provide a free report. If you are not sure if your identity was compromised, try visiting: www.annualcreditreport.com and get one free copy of your report from each company if they haven’t already done so in the last 12 months. You can also call toll-free to request reports at 1-877-322-8228.
Place a fraud alert or security freeze-You should make sure your credit history is not damaged as a result of thieves using your credit cards or personal information. You may need to place an initial fraud alert on your credit report. The initial fraud alert lasts for one year. Call any one of the three credit bureaus to place this alert.
– Phone: 1-800-525-6285
o Experian – Phone: 1-888-397-3742
o Transunion – Phone: 1-800-680-7289
Notify all creditors-This includes all banks, utilities, insurance carriers, phone, Internet service and cable television providers, libraries and organizations where personally identifying information was compromised. Consumers may also consider closing bank and credit card accounts and requesting new account numbers and PINs.
Take advantage of free identity theft protection-If you are the victim of a data breach, take advantage of free identity theft protection that is typically offered following the breach.
The Office of the Attorney General again reminds consumers to take advantage of free identity theft protection for 24 months if you are or were an Anthem customer, going back to 2004. Consumers can enroll online at https://anthem.allclearid.com/. Those without Internet access or who prefer assistance via telephone can call 877-263-7995. Spanish-speaking members may access information at www.AnthemInforma.com, or receive assistance in Spanish at 877-263-7995.
For consumer tips from the state Department of Consumer Protection, visit www.smartconsumer.ct.gov.
For more information about National Consumer Protection Week, please visit www.ncpw.gov.