CHARLESTON — As part of National Consumer Protection Week, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is reminding consumers to vigorously safeguard personal and sensitive information.
Scammers and those looking to steal personal and financial information have easy access due to technological advances and the increased amount of such data available in the public domain.
“Consumers need to be extremely cautious when handling and exchanging personal and sensitive information,” Morrisey said. “Unfortunately, there are more ways than ever for such information to end up in the wrong hands.”
Consumers can do several things to keep their personal information safe:
* Never hand over personal information without identifying the identity of the recipient.
* Always use a website that starts with https://. This verifies a secure connection.
* Be wary of suspicious emails that look legitimate but are really meant to steal personal information.
* Never click on unfamiliar links or attachments.
* Avoid doing personal business on public Wi-Fi. It’s not always a secure connection and could lead to information being stolen.
* Always double check with the legitimate agency if unexpectedly contacted for payment or information. Bullying tactics to get compliance should be a red flag.
* Make sure a charity is legitimate before donating. Consumers can check via the Secretary of State’s website to see if a charity is registered to solicit donations in West Virginia.
Consumers with questions are asked contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Office at 1-800-368-8808, the Eastern Panhandle Consumer Protection Office in Martinsburg at 304-267-0239 or visit the office online at www.wvago.gov.