Online security to protect yourself in the new year - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Online security to protect yourself in the new year

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

The beginning of the new year is a good time to take a new look at your online security.

The Ohio Attorney General's Office says that includes making sure your passwords are complex, unique, updated often and not the same for every web site.

Melissa Smith is the Director of the Identity Theft Unit for the Attorney General's Office, "Now's a good time to make sure that your passwords are definitely strong. So by strong we would mean between 8 and 12 characters, using upper case, lower case, numbers, symbols, things like that."

It's important to also be careful about how much personal informaton you provide to social media sites. It allows criminals to pull scams like the "Grandparents Scam" that asks for money.

"And if they can go on your social media accounts and see that your grandson's name is Bobby and they can call and say hey grandma it's Bobby -- it seems more real," Smith said.

Also never respond to urgent "emails" that claim to be from a bank or a company that requests personal information to verify an account. Banks and legitimate businesses don't operate that way.

Smith with the Attorney General's Office warns about a scam that plagued 2016, "One of the biggest threats that we saw as far as scams just in general was the "Computer Repair Scam." Someone would call and say they were from a computer repair company and your computer was infected, they they would ask if they can have remote access to your computer."

That remote access would allow them to take control of everything on your computer including tax returns and all of your other personal information.

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