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January 21, 2022

Don't Get Scammed: Tips to Secure Your Private Information

Don't Get Scammed: Tips to Secure Your Private Information
DON’T GET SCAMMED: TIPS TO SECURE YOUR PRIVATE INFORMATION To Mark Data Privacy Day, Multiple NYS Agencies Offer Ways to Protect Yourself


Friday, January 28, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, January 28, 2022


The New York State Office of Information Technology Services, New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, the Department of Financial Services, the Department of State's Division of Consumer Protection, and the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services today shared information security tips to mark January 28 as Data Privacy Day, promote best practices and raise overall public awareness.


New Yorkers can help keep their sensitive personal information secure online and at home by practicing the following tips.

Be wary of unsolicited emails and telephone calls asking for personal information. Never share personal information, such as your Social Security number, in response to an unsolicited email or telephone call. If the email or call claims to be from a company with which you do business, call it first to confirm the contact is legitimate. Scammers will also use scare tactics and threats related to tax debt to get you to share your personal and financial information.

Secure your mobile devices. Apply software updates that patch known vulnerabilities as soon as they become available. Use security features built into your device, such as a passcode, and use programs that encrypt data and remotely eliminate contents if the device is lost or stolen.


Be careful with Wi-Fi hotspots. Public wireless hotspots are not secure, which means that anyone could potentially see what you are doing on your mobile device while you are connected. Limit what you do on public Wi-Fi and avoid logging into sensitive accounts.


Know your apps. Thoroughly review the details and specifications of an app before you download it. Review and understand the privacy policy of each mobile app. Be aware that the app may request access to your location and personal information.


Be cautious about the information you share on social media. Avoid posting your birthdate, telephone number, home address, or images that identify your job or hobbies. This information may often reveal answers to security questions used to reset passwords, making you a possible target of scammers looking to access your accounts and personal information.


Use strong passwords. Create different passwords for all of your accounts.  When it comes to passwords, the longer the better - 14 characters is the current industry standard. Use a combination of letters (upper and lower case), numbers, and symbols.  Consider passphrases, where you use the first letters of a memorable phrase to create a complex password that is difficult to guess.  Regularly change your passwords/passphrases.


Vary your security questions. Don't use the same security questions on multiple accounts. Select security questions for which the answers cannot be guessed or found by searching social media or the internet.


Use two-step verification to access accounts. To enhance the security of online accounts, whenever possible require a password and an extra security code to verify your identity when you sign in.


Beware of phishing. Don't click on links, download files, or open attachments in emails from unknown senders. Open attachments only when you are expecting them and know what they contain, even if you know the sender. Access more information on phishing from the Office of Information Technology Services YouTube page.


Acting Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Amanda Hiller said, "The Tax Department uses advanced encryption, firewalls, intrusion-detection systems, and other security measures to safeguard sensitive data, but taxpayers also have a vital role to play. With the tax season underway, taxpayers must be vigilant to help prevent their confidential information from falling into the wrong hands."

Superintendent of Financial Services Adrienne A. Harris said, "As we mark Data Privacy Day, we remind New Yorkers to refresh their cyber hygiene habits to safeguard their personal and financial information. As the first financial regulator in the nation to issue cybersecurity requirements for financial institutions, DFS will continue to alert and supervise regulated entities in cybersecurity trends and best practices, in turn enhancing their defense mechanisms, reducing cyber-attacks and ultimately protecting consumer data."


Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray said, "We all know how reliant we are on our technology every day. I know how disruptive it is when someone loses access to their accounts or has their personal data stolen because of a malicious act. I don't want any New Yorker to experience that. Which is why I encourage all of us to take a few simple steps to protect our own data and account privacy. Things like using strong passwords, having different passwords for different accounts, using two factor authentication when it's offered and changing your passwords periodically will keep your data safer. These are some of the easiest ways to prevent your information from becoming compromised and susceptible to cybercrimes I know we all worry about forgetting our passwords but I assure you, the minor nuisance of having different strong passwords is worth the peace of mind to know you've done what you can to keep your accounts safe."

New York State Office of Information Technology Services Chief Information Officer Angelo "Tony" Riddick said, "Under Governor Hochul's leadership, NYS continues to safeguard personal information and educate on steps to minimize cyber risk to prevent New Yorkers from falling prey to data thieves. In an even more connected world as the workforce continues to use remote tools, National Data Privacy Day reminds us of the effective steps we must take to protect our information and remain vigilant against cybercrime."

Acting New York State Office of Information Technology Services Chief Information Security Officer David Bell said, "Now more than ever, we need to be aware of the threats to our privacy that are ever-present while online. In recognition of National Data Privacy Day, all New Yorkers should remember the importance of protecting their personal data from cyber criminals. ITS continues to provide a wide variety of helpful cyber tips for the public, in addition to online safety resources and real-time advisories that can help safeguard against cybercrime." 

Acting Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez said,  "All New Yorkers need to be vigilant in protecting their online accounts and personal information to prevent data theft. Now, more than ever with more consumers using the digital marketplace to buy basic goods and services, I encourage everyone to follow basic tips to secure their accounts. Data Privacy Day is a great opportunity to remind consumers of how to protect their information."


About ITS

The New York State Office of Information Technology Services (ITS) was created in 2012 to transform IT services in an effort to make New York State government work smarter for its citizens and enable the state to be accessible for businesses through the use of technology. ITS provides statewide IT strategic direction, directs IT policy and delivers centralized IT products and services that support the mission of the State. ITS operates data centers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to support statewide mission-critical applications for over 50 Agencies, over 17 million citizen accounts, 120,000 employee accounts, 60,000 phones, 99,000 desktops and laptops, and 3,433 Virtual Desktop remote connections. ITS operates a secure network of over 1,600 miles of fiber to deliver telecommunications, Internet and Intranet services, enterprise email systems and support, IT training, networking, data storage and processing to State government entities in addition to developing new services in support of citizens, businesses and State Agencies.

For more information, visit https://its.ny.gov and follow us on Twitter @nysits.