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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > May 2014 > Tips Help You Guard Against the Heartbleed Bug

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Tips Help You Guard Against the Heartbleed Bug

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine offered consumers advice on how to protect their personal information in the aftermath of a widespread Internet security glitch called the Heartbleed bug.

“The Heartbleed bug poses a serious problem to your personal information online,” Attorney General DeWine said. “Consumers should remain vigilant in making sure their accounts have not been compromised and they do not get scammed.” 
The Heartbleed bug refers to a two-year online security flaw that may have allowed scammers to capture the personal information of online users, even if a website appeared to be secure. As a result, consumers’ usernames, passwords, and even credit card numbers could have been accessed.
To protect against related scams and fraud, consumers should change their passwords to their online accounts, including banking, social media, shopping, and email. However, before updating passwords, consumers should confirm that the companies have fixed the problem within their individual system.
Consumers can help protect themselves by following these tips:
  • Perform an Internet search to find a list of websites comprised as a result of the Heartbleed bug. Do not log into the sites until you’re sure the company has fixed the problem. 
  • Choose different and complex passwords for each online account. Remember to change passwords often. Also, if you use the same password for multiple accounts, you may consider changing all accounts that use the same password.  
  • Review bank account and credit card statements regularly. Immediately report any suspicious activity to your bank or credit card company.
  • Beware of emails or text messages appearing to originate from government agencies or well-known companies that reference the Heartbleed bug and instruct you to click on a link to “change your password.” Some scammers may use this as ploy to get you to click on malicious links.
  • Remember that cellular phones are also affected by the Heartbleed bug. Take time to update the software on your cellular phone and create new passwords. 
Attorney General DeWine also warned Ohioans that scammers may try to take advantage of consumers’ heightened concern over the Heartbleed bug. They could pose as legitimate organizations and, by email or phone, say the consumer’s account has been compromised and if the consumer divulges his account password, the scammer can fix the problem.   
Consumers who suspect they are a victim of an unfair or deceptive business act, scam, or identity theft should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office by visiting or calling 800-282-0515.