Data Privacy Week: Tips to keep your online information safe

Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 6:31 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) -This week marks Data Privacy week. It’s a time when experts are urging people to learn more about protecting their personal information online.

Experts say that with scams and frauds on the rise and with more of our lives moving online, you now have a higher likelihood of having your information stolen if you don’t know how to protect it.

People falling victim to scams and having their information stolen is something Richmond-based finance company Paymerang sees all the time.

“So the most common type of fraud that we see are business email compromises where a fraudster will infiltrate an email address, and the domain looks the exact same, and they’re emailing a client or a vendor, and they want to reroute that payment to a fraudulent account,” said Sierre Lindgren who works as a senior fraud analyst at Paymerang.

During tax season, they’re reminding people to be extra cautious about what they put online. They say it’s when you become an even bigger target for scammers.

“It usually happens the end of the year and obviously right January, February, March right around tax season and those special holidays that come in...most of the individuals that are scammed are usually in the elder range. It’s usually elderly abuse. Unfortunately, usually, 60 and above are the ones the fraudsters prey on the most,” Lindgren said.

According to Virginia IT Agency, all it takes is your phone number for someone to build a profile on you.

That’s why they say it’s important to remember that every time you go online, it leaves a trail of data which is then collected by websites and apps that track your behaviors. Sometimes bad actors on the internet can use your personal information against you.

”We see all of the millions of cyber attack attempts that happen just on our government systems, so it’s important that we share all of the information that we can to help people stay safe too and what we see is people will try to access information that you think is pretty benign or innocent online and they’ll use that to find information out about you,” explained Lindsay LeGrand, director of communications for the Virginia IT Agency.

Virginia IT Agency does have some tips for people to keep in mind to keep their data protected, like using a long and unique password and turning on two-factor authentication which essentially adds another barrier to pass before you can access an online account.