Attorney General Fox Encourages Montanans to Assess Their Data Security

Attorney General Tim Fox encourages Montanans to assess their data security with the release of a new public service announcement promoting Data Privacy Day, celebrated annually by the National Cyber Security Alliance on January 28.  This year’s theme is ‘Respecting Privacy, Safeguarding Data, and Enabling Trust.’

“Identity theft can and does happen to people from all different backgrounds,” said Attorney General Tim Fox.  “Con artists target senior citizens, business owners, and everyday users of technology with equal malice.  Fortunately, consumers are gaining awareness of many of the tricks scammers use to steal personal information thanks in part to observations like Data Privacy Day, which has taken place since 2008.”

In the new PSA, Attorney General Fox urges consumers to take a few simple steps to make sure their personal information stays personal by utilizing both the newest safeguarding measures, and some tried-and-true best practices.

Top tips include:

• Know who you’re dealing with – ID thieves can pose as anyone online or over the phone.  If you have doubts about the legitimacy of the person on the other end of the line, end the conversation and contact the organization in a way you trust, like calling them at the phone number listed on your billing statement, or on their website.
• Login approvals, or two-step verification – Keep your accounts from getting hacked by entering a short code sent to your cell phone the first time you log in from a new device or web browsers.
• Take advantage of privacy settings – Businesses, websites, and apps often have different levels of account privacy and security you can choose from.  Learn what your choices are, and employ the setting you feel comfortable with.
• ID theft doesn’t just happen electronically – Shred or destroy any documents that contain personal identifying information before you dispose of them. Always shred prescriptions, receipts, bank deposit slips, pay stubs, expired credit cards, insurance policies and credit card applications.
• Keep an eye on your accounts –  Review your bank and credit card statements as soon as you get them, and order a copy of your credit report once a year and check it carefully for fraudulent accounts. You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months.
• For more tips, visit the Montana Office of Consumer Protection online at https://dojmt.gov/consumer/identity-theft/ or visit the Data Privacy Day website at:  http://staysafeonline.org/data-privacy-day/.

The PSA is available to watch and share at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXIs_hnDK8U.

NEXT STEPS:  To get updates on the latest scams and identity theft attempts affecting Montanans, sign up for Consumer Alerts through the Office of Consumer Protection.  To report an attempted scam, use OCP’s convenient online reporting form here.  You can also call to speak with one an investigator at (800) 481-6896 or (406) 444-4500, visit OCP’s homepage at https://dojmt.gov/consumer/, or call your local law enforcement agency.