Morrisey urges holiday shoppers to be careful

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is warning consumers to watch for identity theft this holiday season, especially when it comes to children using digital devices.

Many children will receive electronic gifts that will give them broader access to the Internet. Every one of those devices poses an increased risk of identity theft by malicious apps and social networks.

“Children may not always understand the basics of security, especially with the excitement of receiving a new device,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Many times these gifts become just another form of entertainment, but each device makes a child susceptible so it’s important for everyone to monitor usage and educate children about dangers posed by the Internet.”

The Attorney General also offers these tips:

  1. Monitor social media use, even if children object.
  2. Lay down ground rules as a protective measure.
  3. Warn children that private information should not be shared on websites.
  4. Caution children against downloading games or apps from third-party sites. It’s also a good idea to have an adult approve any downloads.
  5. Maintain strict privacy settings on Facebook and other social networks.
  6. The advice comes as part of the Attorney General’s Holiday Consumer Protection Week.

Morrisey also says don’t travel with important personal information. Don’t carry medical insurance cards, Social Security cards or banking information in your purse or wallet. He says residents should never put valuables in a car in open view.

“This is the time of year that people see packages in cars and it really entices them,” Morrisey said,”Leave anything real sensitive behind whether it is cash or Social Security numbers.”

He says consumers should know what the return policies are and when making online purchases make sure you’re on a secure website.

Morrisey says gift cards should be purchased with caution.

“If you’re buying a gift card look and see if the code has been scratched away at the bottom,” Morrisey said,”You have to verify the amount on the gift card is the amount you have paid for.”