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For Immediate Release:
December 10, 2020
Contact: 212-417-5801
press@dos.ny.gov
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CONSUMER ALERT: NYS DIVISION OF CONSUMER PROTECTION ALERTS CONSUMERS TO PRIVACY PRECAUTIONS WITH TECHNOLOGY TOYS

Technology Toys are Popular Gifts that are also Vulnerable to Hacking

Parents Should Take Precautions to Ensure Toys Properly Operate and Shutdown

As part of its seven-part consumer alert holiday series, the New York State Division of Consumer Protection (DCP) is today alerting parents and families that Bluetooth and technology-enabled toys may be fun for families to interact with this holiday season, but these toys are also easy for hackers to access and manipulate for nefarious means. When children’s products, such as smartwatches, smart toys and gaming devices, are tested for vulnerabilities, results show exposures with microphone and camera access in sleep mode, Bluetooth connections without authentication, access to location information and conversation eavesdropping. 

As children interact with technology-enabled and connected toys, usage and personal information (like location) is continuously uploaded to company servers. Once a toy is vulnerable to a hack, that information can be easily accessed and collected. Additionally, when toys allow children to search and access the web, the toy can effortlessly misdirect children away from age appropriate sites. 

“Toymakers are in the business of making toys, not technology,” said Secretary of State Rossana Rosado, who oversees the New York State Division of Consumer Protection. “Making toys fun and easy to use often means technology and security take a back seat. New York families need to take extra precautions, especially when children are 35 times more likely to fall victim to identity theft.”

Steps to make technology-enabled toys safer:

If you believe your child’s toy was hacked, report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

For more information on Child Identity Theft, visit the Division of Consumer Protection website.

The New York State Division of Consumer Protection provides voluntary mediation between a consumer and a business when a consumer has been unsuccessful at reaching a resolution on their own. The Consumer Assistance Helpline 1-800-697-1220 is available Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm, excluding State Holidays, and consumer complaints can be filed at any time at www.dos.ny.gov/consumerprotection. To view consumer alerts, consumers can visit https://www.dos.ny.gov/about/newsroom.html. The Division can also be reached via Twitter at @NYSConsumer or Facebook at www.facebook.com/nysconsumer.

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