OPB News: Tips to stay cyber safe in 2019

January 15, 2019

According to CBC, at least 60,000 Canadians have been targeted by a Canada Revenue Agency phone scam over the past five years and more than $10 million dollars has been stolen in that same time period, making it one of the largest cyber scams in Canadian history.

Further to that, Canadians aged 65 and older represent the fastest growing group of Internet users today with 70% of online seniors visiting the web on a daily basis. Of those online, 64% report they’ve been targeted by online scams, including tech support, tax, sweepstakes and “relatives in need” scams.

Here are some tips to help protect yourself against phone and online scams:

  • Ask before you act – If you receive a suspicious email or call, pause and ask yourself if the email or call seems legitimate. Taking preventative steps such as checking with someone you trust or calling your bank to verify information can save you from being scammed.
  • Update your security software – Make sure your computer has the latest security software, including antivirus and malware.
  • Delete any suspicious emails – If you receive an unusual-looking email, don’t click on any links and instead delete it. If the email was from someone you actually know, they’ll either try again or find another way to get in touch with you.
  • Be cautious online – If you’re signing up for something online, including contests, social networks and websites, don’t share any personal information unless you’re sure the recipient is reputable. Only give your credit card information to websites that are trustworthy and secure (look for “https” in the website address and the lock image).
  • Revisit your passwords – Use strong passwords, change them periodically and try not to use the same password for all logins. To help keep track of your passwords, try using a password manager or vault. To learn more, PCMag.com put together a summary of the best password managers of 2018.
  • Don’t overshare and screen your friend requests – Be selective about what information you share with your followers on social media. Beware of accepting “friend” or “contact” requests from people you don’t know. Protect yourself by using the security and privacy settings in your profile to keep personal or sensitive information as private as possible.
  • Remember to log out – Be sure to log out at the end of your session and clear your cache regularly.

For more information about cyber security and to stay updated on the latest news, check out Public Safety Canada’s website at www.PublicSafety.gc.ca. To report a scam or fraud, visit Consumer Protection Ontario at www.Ontario.ca.

[Sources: CBC.ca, ibid, ProtectSeniorsOnline.ca]