St. Louis, Mo., Aug. 8, 2014 – Reports of a massive data breach are a timely reminder to consumers that they should use strong passwords, use different ones on different accounts and avoid sharing sensitive data, Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises.
The New York Times and other news outlets published stories Wednesday alleging that hackers had stolen 1 billion passwords and other data recently. The reports indicated that the hackers had penetrated a wide variety of websites and obtained sensitive data. None of the compromised websites was identified.
“Reports of stolen passwords are a common and worrisome occurrence,” said Michelle L. Corey, BBB President & CEO. “Consumers need to be vigilant in protecting their accounts by using strong passwords and not sharing them with anyone.”
Experts say consumers should avoid using the same password for all accounts. In addition, passwords should not use current addresses, dates of birth or other information that could be used by thieves to commit identity theft. Strong passwords include a variety of lower and upper case letters, numbers and symbols.
BBB also advises consumers to hang up on unsolicited calls or emails that ask for personal information, such as bank account or credit card numbers, dates of birth, Social Security numbers or other sensitive data. If you get a call that your bank account has been frozen or your credit card has been compromised, hang up and call the customer service number for your financial institution.
More BBB tips for securing your personal information:
For more consumer tips or to check out a business or charity, go to www.bbb.org or call 314-645-3300.
Contacts (News Media Only): Michelle L. Corey, President and CEO, (314) 645-0606, firstname.lastname@example.org; Chris Thetford, Vice President-Communications, (314) 584-6743 or (314) 681-4719 (cell), email@example.com
BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Most BBB services to consumers are free of charge. BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.3 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Visit bbb.org for more information.