News Releases

Return...    

Think Digital Safety on Data Privacy Day, January 28
January 24, 2013

Media Contact:  Jerad Albracht, Communications Specialist, 608-224-5007 or Jim Dick, Communications Director, 608-224-5020


MADISON  If you use the internet, you have a digital footprint.  Whether you are shopping, searching, listening to music or posting to a social media account, you are leaving traces of your activities online, and it is important to protect your identity from thieves and scammers.  In order to help Wisconsin consumers learn about ways to tighten the security around their digital activities, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is celebrating Data Privacy Day on January 28th.

Data Privacy Day is an annual international day of awareness that aims to empower people to protect their privacy and control their digital footprint.  Governor Scott Walker issued a proclamation in recognition of this educational effort, noting the importance for individuals, government agencies, businesses, educational and healthcare institutions to identify data privacy risks and to counteract threats to personal data privacy.

“Data Privacy Day serves as an opportunity to get consumers thinking about how they use the internet, what kind of details they are sharing online and the steps they are taking to protect their personal information,” said Sandy Chalmers, Division Administrator for Trade and Consumer Protection.

With identity theft on the rise both nationwide and in Wisconsin, Data Privacy Day is a timely reminder of the threats that exist online.

“It costs the average identity theft victim twelve hours and more than $300 to resolve fraud,” said Chalmers.  “Wisconsin consumers could potentially save themselves significant time and money if they use even a couple of minutes on Data Privacy Day to educate themselves on identity theft and take steps to strengthen the security around their online information.”

DATCP provides the following consumer online safety tips:

  • Passwords.  Mix letters, numbers and special characters to create passwords that are at least 10 characters long.
  • Protect your email account.  Use a complex password for your email account.  Many websites send password update and account access emails to customers, so getting a hold of these emails could potentially give a hacker access to all of these online accounts.
  • Protect your devices.  Update the operating system and anti-virus software on your devices to target recent viruses and patch any holes that hackers can use to access your system.
  • Look for secure websites.  Only enter personal details and banking information in sites that start with “https” (the “s” means secure).  Look for the lock graphic next to the web address.
  • Credit reports.  Every year, you can receive one free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus by visitingwww.annualcreditreport.com.  Review your reports for any unauthorized lines of credit.
  • Check your statements.  Regularly review your bank and credit card statements for unauthorized charges or withdrawals.
  • Check your privacy settings.  Adjust the privacy settings for your social media accounts to block your content from strangers.
  • Read the fine print.  Review the privacy policies for websites and mobile applications.  Make sure that you are comfortable with the policies before you enter any personal information into the websites or programs.

For more information on privacy or to file a consumer complaint, visit http://datcp.wisconsin.gov, send an e-mail to DATCPWisconsinPrivacy@wisconsin.gov or call the Consumer Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-422-7128.  Consumers can also visit staysafeonline.org for more information on Data Privacy Day or to learn about protecting their devices, identifying spam emails and phishing scams, and scanning their computers for viruses using free online resources.

Connect with the Consumer Protection Bureau on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wiconsumer.

###