Scammers are getting crafty. Here are some tips to protect your personal information.
Humans aren’t perfect, which is why many cyber breeches are the result of human error. We click on links, open attachments, provide information and expose passwords all the time because we are busy, we aren’t always paying attention.
Here are some tips on how to protect yourself from personal identity theft, and what you should do if you think you have left yourself exposed or become a victim of a cyber attack.
How to protect yourself
- Never provide personal information through the Internet or by email.
- Never share a password in writing. Ever!
- Always create a new password for each login situation. Using passwords that are the same or similar are very easy to figure out.
- Always create a complex password for your home/business wifi system.
- Do not “automatically save” your credit card information on a website (including your Google or Apple Account)
- Keep your access codes, user IDs, passwords, and PINs secret.
- Keep your address current with all government departments and agencies, and only share necessary contact information with businesses.
- Be careful before you click on links in any email you receive. Some criminals may be using a technique known as phishing to steal your personal information when you click on the link.
- Caller ID is a useful function. However, the information displayed can be altered by criminals. Never use only the displayed information to confirm the identity of the caller whether it be an individual, a company or a government entity.
- Protect your social insurance number. Don't use it as a piece of ID and never reveal it to anyone unless you are certain the person asking for it is legally entitled to that information. If an organization asks for your social insurance number, ask if it is legally required to collect it, and if not, offer other forms of ID.
- Immediately report lost or stolen credit or debit cards.
Hackers are also getting clever and the fake emails are getting harder to identify. Can you spot a scam? Take the official Phishing Quiz to find out here.
When in doubt, ask yourself:
- Why is the caller pressuring me to act immediately?
- Was I waiting for confirmation from this company/person?
- Have I received written communication by email or mail about the subject of the call?
- Does this company/person usually email me personally?
- Would this organization have my most up-to-date information?
- Is the caller asking for information I would not give this organization or that is not related to the subject of the call?
What should you do now?
You should report deceptive telemarketing to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online or by calling 1-888-495-8501.
If your credit cards have been stolen or compromised, contact your financial services provider immediately and speak with a fraud specialist. Keep an eye on your accounts over the coming months for strange activity.
If your social insurance number (SIN) has been stolen, you should contact Service Canada at 1-800-206-7218. For more information, see Social Insurance Number (Service Canada website).
If your social media accounts or online profiles have been compromised, immediately change your passwords. Be sure that these are unique passwords to anything you already use. You can report any fake or spam accounts/activity directly with the social media platform. Depending on the scam, you may need to advise your followers/connections that someone is impersonating you.
Can I get personal cyber insurance?
Many property insurance policies can include coverage for privacy breeches. Your broker can help build the right policy for you!
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