Stein provides tips on how to keep your family and your information safe when online.

Attorney General Josh Stein Warns Against Hacking and Phishing Scams on Data Privacy Day (Photo: Attorney General Josh Stein)

RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) — January 28th is Data Privacy Day and Attorney General Josh Stein is sharing some tips to help keep people and their information safe while online.

Friday, Stein released the Department of Justice’s 2022 Data Breach Report, which shares information about the 1,900 data breaches that were reported to the Department of Justice (DOJ) last year.

These breaches impacted more than 3 million North Carolinians.

“We live, work, study, and conduct business online every day,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “The organizations we give our information to have a responsibility to store that data carefully and prevent it from being compromised. When they fail to do that, I will not hesitate to hold them accountable. In addition to enforcing the law, we help people protect their personal information and hope that the tips and information in this report are useful.” 

All businesses and government agencies are required to report data breaches to the DOJ.

The over 3 million North Carolinians affected in 2022 is the second highest number of people ever affected in a single year in our state.

Hacking and phishing scams were responsible for nearly 90% of last year’s data breaches.

Criminals often use phishing and hacking scams to attack networks and systems with ransomware.

Ransomware made up 45% of the reported breaches.

Josh Stein provides some tips on how to keep you and your information secure when online:

  • Don’t open emails, click links, or download attachments from unverified senders. 
  • Update software on your phone and computer regularly. Don’t forget updates on your smart watches, tablets, or any other electronic devices. 
  • Use strong passwords and change your passwords and security questions regularly. 
  • Use different passwords for your various accounts and websites so if one is compromised, it won’t give someone access to other accounts.
  • Don’t use public Wi-Fi to make purchases, access your bank accounts, or log into any websites that have personal information. Public Wi-Fi networks are much more susceptible to hackers. 
  • Forward phishing emails to the Federal Trade Commission at [email protected]. 
  • If you believe you may have been the victim of a hack, request a free security freeze, contact our office, and monitor your credit report and bank accounts for errors and irregularities. To learn more, visit 

Ransomware attacks continue to increase in North Carolina. Last year, the office of Attorney General Josh Stein received reports of a record 857 data breaches caused by ransomware.

Organizations can help prevent ransomware attacks on their networks by following these guidelines:  

  • Make and regularly update for how you and your organization to respond to ransomware and train your employees to be ready to implement it.
  • Back up your data regularly so you aren’t at the mercy of hackers to access it. 
  • Regularly participate in and conduct trainings to help identify the signs of a ransomware attack. 
  • Keep all security and ransomware prevention software up to date on all of your devices. 
  • Have a plan in place to notify customers or people whose data you store if you become the victim of a ransomware attack.