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Protect Yourself with 8 Cybersecurity Tips

We have compiled 8 cybersecurity tips to help you better protect your personal financial information from fraud and identity theft.1

A September 2, 2020 article penned by Equifax Canada states that “The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC), the central agency tracking all types of fraud, estimates the cost of mass marketing fraud (i.e. fraud by phone, the Internet, mass mailings, television, radio, and personal contact) to be approaching $130 million reported by consumers annually, which represents approximately a 30% increase from 2017.”

1) Keep your personal and financial information private

We all know this, but sometimes we slip up. We’re in a hurry and forget to protect our interac or credit card password at the checkout, or we’re out with friends and accidentally let slip an often-used password within earshot of others. We’re human. But keeping your information safe is key. A quick task you can do right now is to only keep the ID you need on your person, leave your

  • social Insurance number card;
  • birth certificate;
  • and some of your 5 credit cards at home.

2) Clear your logins, passwords and browser history, especially when using a public computer or network.

Also, you should choose strong, easy-to-remember passwords, and change them regularly. And don’t forget to share these passwords with your executor(s). So much of our lives are online now. Make sure they can find and access your online profiles (including your investment and bank accounts). Here are some tips for creating strong passwords:

  • Use at least 8 characters and mix letters (lowercase and uppercase), numbers, and special characters (!@#%).
    Ex.: Go!1Team
  • Use unrelated words, numbers and special characters. (First pet’s name + special character + favourite number + favourite colour)
    Ex.: Rex!@21Gold
  • Use the first letter/number in a sentence. (On April 15th I am going on holidays!)
    Ex.: OA15lagoh!
  • Substitute letters with numbers or special characters. (The word “Calendar” where “a” is replaced by “@”, “l” with “!”, and “e” with “3”)
    Ex.: C@!3nd@r 2

3) Use secure and trusted sites when making online purchases or entering personal information

Did you know that if you click on the lock located to the left of a site’s url (see right) you can see its security certificate? Make sure to check the legitimacy of the url address, too. Read the name and domain extension from right-to-left: eg “.ca”

4) Review your bank and credit card statements monthly

Scan your statements for company names that don’t sound familiar or amounts that look unusual. If something pops up contact your bank or credit card company.

5) Shred personal documents such as receipts, bank statements, ATM receipts, cheque stubs, and credit card statements, etc.

6) Check your credit report and score every year

Equifax Canada recently performed a survey which found that “only 29 per cent of survey respondents checked their credit report as a means to help protect their personal data over the last 12 months” As the article’s title suggests Canadians are becoming complacent when it comes to fraud and the importance of checking their credit report. It’s so easy!! This article from getsmarteraboutmoney.ca lays it out simply.

7) Report identity theft or any other type of personal financial fraud to the police, as soon as possible.

The Government of Canada also has a fraud reporting centre, they can be reached Mon-Fri 10am to 4:45pm (EST) at 1-888-495-8501.

If you think your SIN (Social Insurance Number) has been compromised, contact Service Canada immediately. How would you know? Often people find out that their SIN has been compromised when they receive a Notice of Reassessment from Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) asking about undeclared earnings.

8) Learn the signs of investment fraud and common scams

We’ve all received calls from someone claiming to be from CRA. According to the Government of Canada,

The CRA will NEVER phone you to:

  • “ask for information about your passport, health card, or driver’s license
  • demand immediate payment by Interac e-transfer, bitcoin, prepaid credit cards or gift cards from retailers such as iTunes, Amazon, or others
  • use aggressive language or threaten you with arrest or sending the police
  • leave voicemails that are threatening or give personal or financial information”
The CRA will NEVER email you to:

  • “give or ask for personal or financial information by email and ask you to click on a link
  • email you a link asking you to fill in an online form with personal or financial details
  • send you an email with a link to your refund
  • demand immediate payment by Interac e-transfer, bitcoin, prepaid credit cards or gift cards from retailers such as iTunes, Amazon, or others
  • threaten you with arrest or a prison sentence”

We all know how important it is to stay vigilant when it comes to protecting our personal information. Hopefully, these 8 cybersecurity tips will help you better protect your personal financial information from fraud and identity theft in future.


Sources:

  • Checklist: Protecting your financial information. Retrieved from: https://www.getsmarteraboutmoney.ca/protect-your-money/fraud/protecting-against-fraud/checklist-protecting-your-financial-information/
  • iA Securites 2020 Cybersecurity Training
Watermark Stone WealthProtect Yourself with 8 Cybersecurity Tips

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