(SALISBURY, Md.)- Recent reports of massive data breaches highlight the need for Marylanders to be vigilant about their personal information and aware of how it may be compromised and misused. Most recently, Yahoo reported that data associated with nearly 500 million user accounts has been stolen by a sophisticated "state-sponsored" hacker.

The stolen Yahoo account information may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords, and in some cases unencrypted security questions or answers. Attorney General Brian Frosh advises Yahoo account users to change their password and security questions immediately. At this time, there is no evidence that any financial accounts have been compromised.

Additional information regarding the data breach can be found at https://help.yahoo.com/kb/account/SLN27925.html.

Maryland residents affected by this data breach should monitor online accounts for any unusual activity and are encouraged to change their login information for any other online accounts that may have the same or similar passwords and/or secret questions. Additionally, Maryland residents are encouraged to check their credit reports and should consider placing a "credit freeze" on their credit files. A credit freeze is an extremely effective tool in preventing identity theft. Parents or guardians of minor children may also place a credit freeze on behalf of their child. For more information on how to obtain a credit freeze, please visit http://www.marylandattorneygeneral.gov/Pages/IdentityTheft/freezing.aspx

The Office of the Attorney General has an identity theft unit that offers guidance and assistance. Information about how to protect yourself or your children against identity theft, and what to do if it occurs http://www.marylandattorneygeneral.gov/Pages/IdentityTheft/default.aspx

The Office of the Attorney General recommends that consumers review their account statements, online accounts, and credit files regularly for suspicious activity. If consumers feel they have been harmed and want to file a complaint, please call 410-576-6491, or visit our website at www.marylandattorneygeneral.com.