CHARLESTON—West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is encouraging all consumers to take a couple of minutes this week to evaluate their online security in observance of National Data Privacy Day.

“It’s good to be thinking about ways to keep your personal information safe every day, but Data Privacy Day is a particularly good reminder to just take some extra time to check those privacy settings and make sure you’re being as safe as you can while using your computers and cell phones,”  Morrisey said in a statement.

Data Privacy Day, which is an effort of the National Cyber Security Alliance, is designed to raise awareness about the ways consumers use their personal data, and to encourage them to be vigilant in protecting it. This includes not just personal computers, but smartphones and other mobile devices, as well.

There are some easy ways to help keep your information safe, including:

* Secure your computer, smartphone or tablet with a strong, unique password.

* Be careful about what information you share publicly via social media. Your phone numbers, full date of birth, e-mail address, and home address shouldn’t appear on your profile. Also, be cautious about sharing your travel plans. Some thieves comb social media for this information to target empty houses.

* Be smart about Wi-Fi hotspots, and what information you share while using them. Open wireless networks are an easy target for scammers.

* Opt-out of the location service featured on your cell phone. Most apps don’t need that information to work.

* Make sure your computer’s virus and malware protection are always up to date.

“Scammers are getting more creative in their methods,” Morrisey said. “In some cases, one click on a legitimate-looking e-mail can install a program that could steal usernames and passwords from your computer or mobile device without you even knowing. It’s important we all do what we can to stop these people in their tracks.”

For more information about ways to protect your identity online, Morrisey suggests visiting www.staysafeonline.org.

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