Cyber attacks and cyber fraud are becoming increasingly popular methods for criminals to prey on unsuspecting victims. As more and more of our financial lives move online, the importance of safeguarding yourself against cybercrime only increases.
The RCMP has a number of helpful cybercrime prevention tips to help Canadians safeguard themselves. Here are some of the highlights:
- Use strong passwords. The RCMP recommends using different combinations of user IDs and passwords for different sites. You should also ensure your passwords contain letters, numbers and special characters and aren’t something that could be easily guessed (like birthdays or pet’s names, for example). You should also change your passwords on a regular basis.
- Secure your computer. Make sure your computer’s firewall is activated, use anti-virus software to prevent malware from infecting your computer and block spyware attacks by keeping your anti-spyware software up to date.
- Install the latest operating systems. Whether you’re using a PC or a Mac or any other type of computer, it’s good practice to keep the operating system and your application up to date to prevent potential attacks on older software.
- Secure your wireless network. Home wi-fi can be vulnerable to attacks if not properly secured. Review your settings to make sure. Also, avoid using free public wi-fi for any sort of sensitive transactions.
- Secure your mobile devices. Only download applications from trusted sources in order to avoid potential vulnerabilities.
For the complete list, visit the RCMP’s website at http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/to-ot/tis-set/cyber-tips-conseils-eng.htm
What to do if you become a victim of fraud.
No one ever expects to become the victim of fraud, but unfortunately, it does happen. According to the RCMP, every year thousands of Canadians fall victim to fraud, costing them millions of dollars. If you discover you’ve been a victim of fraud, here are a few things you should do right away:
- Collect as much information about the fraud as you can. Anything related to the fraud, i.e., documents, receipts, emails, text messages, etc., can be valuable information. Hang onto it.
- Report the fraud to the police.
- Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
- Report the fraud to Casera Credit Union or whichever financial institution was involved.
- If the fraud occurred online, such as through Facebook, Kijiji, eBay, or some other website, contact the website’s administrators to report it.
- Report the fraud to both credit bureaus (Equifax and TransUnion).