Beckley, WV (WOAY) – In recognition of Cybersecurity Awareness month, AAA reminds consumers to be safe while shopping online as identity theft cases rise.
According to IdentityTheft.org, the frequency of identity theft has dramatically increased over the last few years.
In 2021, West Virginia received 2,845 reports of identity theft. Combining all identity theft fraud and schemes, West Virginia lost $10.2 million in 2021.
The cost to identify theft victims grows as society becomes more dependent on technology, with consumers experiencing almost $400 million in losses from online shopping.
AAA provides seven tips for shoppers to protect their identity.
- Closely monitor your bank account and review all credit card transactions. Immediately report any suspicious activity.
- Don’t use public Wi-Fi. This makes users susceptible to hackers intercepting personal information or implanting malware on a targeted computer or device.
- Make sure the web addresses for online shops start with HTTPS and not just HTTP. The ‘s’ stands for secure.
- Never share personal information with incoming callers or anyone who reaches out by email, regardless of how legitimate, threatening, or urgent the caller or email seems. Instead, contact the person or company using an independent phone number (not the one provided by the caller or email) to ask if there is a problem.
- Never click on links in emails or text messages unless you are expecting the communication and are 100% sure it is safe.
- Enable two-factor authentication on accounts when given the option to do so. This provides an extra layer of security.
- Freeze your credit, thus preventing anyone from opening an account or credit card in your name. It is free to unfreeze your credit should you need to open an account yourself.
For more information on identity theft protection, visit AAA.com.