How To Protect Your Online Privacy

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TRENTON – Last year, more than 4 million New Jerseyans were affected by the single-largest data breach that year, involving Equifax.

There were a total of 958 data breaches reported to the State Police last year, a 41 percent increase over 2016 reports of 676 breaches.

New Jersey State Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the New Jersey State Police, along with the Division of Consumer Affairs, in conjunction with National Cybersecurity Month, offered these tips to residents to keep their data secure:

  • “Avoid clicking on e-mail links or attachments from unknown individuals, financial institutions, computer services or government agencies. To check out the message, go to the sender’s legitimate public website, and use the contact information provided.
  • “Adjust device privacy settings to control sharing of data between applications, software and address books.
  • “Choose a strong password containing letters, numbers and symbols. If a website offers two-factor authentication security, use it.
  • “To protect your device from unauthorized access and malware software, install security software, often available from your internet provider, and ensure that firewall and anti-virus protections are updated continually.
  • “Before disposing of any electronic device, wipe the hard drive using specialized software that will overwrite your information; or donate the device to a certified recycling facility that follows government standards for the destruction of data.
  • “Under federal law, consumers can get three free credit reports per year through com. New Jersey law entitles consumers to an additional three free credit reports annually – one from each of the national credit reporting agencies. Scrupulous checking of credit reports, bank and credit card statements, and subscription services can catch identity theft at its earliest stages.
  • “Avoid free Wi-Fi, especially for health, financial, and other personal transactions.
  • “Before giving up your personal information to win a contest or participate in a survey, read the “Terms and Conditions” and “Privacy Policy” within the website or app. These sections should clearly lay out how the website will use and share your information.
  • “Parents can report concerns about websites directed to children to the Division of Consumer Affairs, which enforces the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Parents should take advantage of parental control software offered by their internet service provider, adjust browser settings to limit children’s access, and review history logs to monitor usage.”