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The Journal Gazette

October 15, 2016 1:01 AM

Take time to keep your digital data safe

To learn more

 If you have questions about identity theft or online scams, contact the Indiana Attorney General’s Office at 800-382-5516 or file a complaint online at

 To place a freeze on your credit, contact one of the three credit-reporting companies:

Equifax  1-800-349-9960

Experian  1‑888‑397‑3742

TransUnion 1-888-909-8872

Halloween and the presidential election campaign aren’t the only scary things to contemplate this October.

It’s also Cyber Security Awareness Month, a national effort to call attention to the hidden dangers of the digital world.

As part of that effort, the Indiana Attorney General’s Office offers Hoosiers five tips to keep the information on their phones, computers and tablets safe from scammers and thieves as near as the next table in the coffee shop or as far away as, say, Russia or China.

The AG’s office advises you to take the following steps:

• “Lock your screens” by setting up a password.

• Use unique and intricate passwords.

• “Monitor financial and sensitive accounts.” Watch for suspicious transactions or unexpectedly low balances and make sure other data such as your Social Security number, address and birth date aren’t compromised.

• Use a credit card rather than a debit card online. “Debit cards provide access to your entire banking account and place you more at risk for identity theft if there is a breach,” the AG’s office says.

• “Freeze your credit.” That, the office says, “can block an identity thief from opening an new account or obtaining credit in your name.” Under a freeze, new creditors need your permission to access your credit report.

Take some time this month to celebrate cybersecurity awareness by making sure your personal digital information is nobody else’s business.