By Frank Lewis
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is encouraging Ohio consumers to change their passwords and to monitor their accounts following news that Russian hackers have stolen more than a billion user IDs and passwords.
“When a security breach is announced, it is a good reminder to take steps to protect your personal information,” DeWine said. “Even if you don’t know whether or not you have been directly affected, take common-sense steps to protect yourself. A good place to start is by changing your passwords and carefully monitoring your accounts.”
DeWine offered consumers the following tips:
- If you have online accounts, change your passwords. If you have used the same password for multiple accounts, consider changing those passwords as well.
- Choose a different password for each of your online accounts.
- Create passwords that are long and complex, using a variety of numbers, letters, and characters. Rather than choosing a word, consider picking a familiar phrase and using the first letter of each word, followed by a random number. For example, you could use the phrase “My dog’s name is Brutus!” and choose the password, “MdniB!579.”
- Change your passwords often.
- Don’t store passwords or account username reminders on smartphones or computers. This personal information could be compromised by a computer virus.
- Beware of possible scams related to the breach. For example, watch out for email or text messages that instruct you to click on a link to “change your password.” Some scammers may use the announcement as ploy to get you to click on malicious links.
- Monitor your financial accounts, email accounts, and mail for signs of identity theft, such as unexpected bills or credit report errors.
Consumers who want additional information or those who suspect identity theft should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at 800-282-0515 or www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov. The Ohio Attorney General’s Identity Theft Unit helps victims rectify the effects of identity theft.
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 1928, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.