ALBANY, N.Y. – Cyber crime has become more prominent, and a new report states millions of New Yorkers have fallen victim to the crime.
More than seven million New Yorkers had their personal records hacked in 2013 alone. Now, State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is hoping awareness and safety tips can stop the growing problem.
A new report from the AG’s office said more than 22 million personal records in New York were hacked over the last eight years. John Porter said he was one of the victims.
“You just wonder how it could get so mixed up,” he said.
A few years ago, Porter said his credit report showed American Express issued him a $50,000 loan, though he never applied.
“So I called, and the lady said to me, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about a business charge, but what we got it we gave you a $50,000 loan,’” he recalled. “And I said, ‘No you didn’t. You gave it to somebody else.’”
Porter said it took him two years to have that incident resolved, but he wondered what he could have done differently.
“When I asked the detective about it, I said, ‘Am I doing something wrong?’ because when you call to reserve a hotel you automatically give your credit card,” Porter said. “He said, ‘No, everybody does it.’”
He said now his family only as two credit cards, they don’t open any store credit cards and his wife checks every bill.
Jacquie Flanagan had a similar problem. She said she purchased something online, and two weeks later, her checking account was hacked. She said someone purchased $700 worth of tennis equipment, and it locked her funds for six weeks.
“We are online banking. We’re buying online,” she said. “We’re giving our e-mail addresses and our physical addresses online, and I don’t know if it’s phishing or what it is that people are doing, but they can read that information when you submit forms.”
She now has a tentative solution.
“Now I have one separate account that I only use online purchases for,” she said. “So if that card number is exposed, I know that I have very limited funds in that account, and it doesn’t touch the rest of my money. But I’m gun shy with what happened last time.”
Schneiderman said he’s ready to combat the growing cybercrime.
“So we can continue to enjoy the benefits of technological innovation without putting ourselves needlessly at risk,” he said.
Schneiderman also suggested creating unique passwords for any accounts and changing them frequently.
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