2017 sets record high for data breaches in North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. – Attorney General Josh Stein calls it serious, and the numbers reflect it's only becoming a more serious situation as time goes on. Data breaches leaving personal information vulnerable for millions in North Carolina in 2017.

The Attorney General's office saw 1,022 reports of breaches last year. Since 2006, when it became state law for businesses to report breaches to Raleigh, those numbers are up more than 3,500 percent.

"It's part of doing business," Stein said. "Technology makes all of our lives easier, but it also creates some risks and it's imperative and important that the business community that has our information safeguard it."

More than half of these breaches come from hackers, according to Stein. National breaches, including Equifax and Uber, leaving millions in North Carolina vulnerable.
Stein has already paired with 47 other state's attorneys general to sue Equifax, and Monday he announced a similar coalition will be suing Uber, this with 41 states on board.

"Did they comply with their legal duties? And if they didn't or if Equifax didn't, North Carolina and I will hold them accountable," Stein said.

So, what can you do to prevent a hack? Never share financial information through emails or texts.
Check to see if a website is secure, if you need to give out that information online. Look for secured lock symbols or URLs beginning in https.

"Get a consultant to analyze your system," Stein said. "Get that consultant to say here's where your vulnerabilities are, here's where you need passwords."

Stein and Representative Jason Saine announcing legislation Monday that would make it free for North Carolinians to freeze their credit through any process. Currently, you can only freeze your credit for free online.

"It doesn't matter if you do it online, or through mail or on the telephone," Stein said. "It should be free to all North Carolinians."

Phishing scams, where someone poses to be your bank or other entity looking for important information, are also on the rise in the state.
They accounted for 24 percent of North Carolina reported scams in 2017, a drastic increase from lower than 2 percent in 2015.