The New York Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection Urges New Yorkers to Conduct Full Online Security Check-Up to Commemorate Cyber Security Awareness Month
Useful Tips on How to Safeguard Your Financial Well-Being Available
The New York Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection today alerted consumers to conduct an online security check-up in commemoration of October as Cyber Security Awareness Month. Major security breaches, such as the one recently reported by Yahoo!, can compromise user accounts and create an identity risk for potentially millions of New York State residents.
“In light of recent high-profile security breaches, I strongly urge that all New Yorkers conduct a security check-up on all their online accounts to make sure they are protected,” said New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado, whose agency oversees the Division of Consumer Protection. “October is Cyber Security Awareness Month, but we must remain vigilant all year-round and take the necessary steps to safeguard private information so it is not compromised and one doesn’t fall victim to unscrupulous scammers.”
“Online theft of private data and information can result in identity theft and a loss of time and money for those who are victimized,” said Aiesha Battle, Director, New York State Division of Consumer Protection. “We recommend consumers consistently monitor all their accounts, as a few easy steps can save a great amount of time and money.”
Yahoo! recently reported that a copy of more than 500 million users’ account information was stolen from its network in late 2014. The Yahoo! security breach is one in a long line of security breaches affected the public and private sector. In 2015, number of U.S. data breaches totaled 781, according to a recent report released by the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC). In 2015, the New York Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection received 979 breach notifications, affecting almost five and a half million New Yorkers. Javelin Strategy & Research estimated that fraud and identity theft damages that year (including but not limited to such breaches) totaled $15 billion and affected more than 13.1 million people. The same study found that one in five data breach victims suffered identity theft and other fraud in 2015.
All New Yorkers are urged to conduct an online security check. The Division of Consumer Protection advises taking the following steps as part of a full cyber check-up to improve online security health:
“In today’s interconnected society, implementing good cyber security practices is critical,” said Margaret Miller, New York State Chief Information Officer. “With increased connectivity comes increased risk in theft, fraud and abuse, and more often than not, cybercriminals rely on human error to gain access to accounts or networks. Digital citizens should be always mindful of protecting personal information and safeguarding personal data while online.”
“Taxpayers contact us throughout the year, not just during tax season, to report fraud and identity theft,” said Acting Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Nonie Manion. “We also use advanced data analytics to detect returns meeting criteria specific to known data breaches and prevent cybercriminals from stealing taxpayer money.”
For more information on security breaches and avoiding identity theft visit the Division of Consumer Protection website at http://www.dos.ny.gov/consumerprotection/security_breach/. Consumers may also contact the Division’s hotline at (800) 697-1220. The Consumer Assistance Hotline is open Monday to Friday, excluding Federal Holidays, 8:30am to 4:30pm. You can also follow the Division of Consumer Protection on social media on Twitter (@NYSConsumer) and Facebook ( www.facebook.com/nysconsumer).