CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has issued a warning to consumers, asking them to be cautious when accepting an offer to resolve personal technology issues.

With many consumers receiving devices as holiday gifts, he said it is crucial to realize those offering a service may actually be out to steal personal information and gain unauthorized access to the smartphone, tablet, computer or other devices.

“Unfortunately, it’s easy for hackers to steal sensitive information from these gadgets,” Morrisey said in a statement. “That’s why it’s important to take all the necessary precautions to make sure the information is safe and the device is locked down.”

He said anyone considering such a service should first evaluate and research their need as the desired service may be handled by the consumer for little to no cost. Those who proceed should know all conditions for canceling the service and never give full or unchecked access to the device. He said those not following such advice could lose money, personal information and ultimately control of their device to hackers.

Morrisey said consumers also should use strong passwords and ensure computer systems, as well as websites, have appropriate safeguards to prevent hacking.

Additionally, they should never give sensitive information without verifying the authenticity of the recipient, he said.

Morrisey urges anyone who feels their personal information has been compromised to contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-368-8808 or visit www.wvago.gov.

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