From online shopping to reviewing your bank account using a mobile app, advancements in technology have made everyday activities more accessible for Canadians than ever before. However, while the internet can help you perform a variety of tasks with ease, the rise of the digital age has also put Canadians at greater risk of falling victim to fraud. Every year, millions of Canadians become susceptible to fraud. You might not think you’re at risk, but you should think twice. Fraudsters are using more sophisticated tactics to obtain your financial and personal information. By staying vigilant and up to date on the common signs of fraud, you can help safeguard your financial future.
Here are a few helpful tips to help protect yourself from financial fraud in 2023:
1. Change your passwords regularly (and don’t repeat them)
From Instagram logins to work email accounts, many of us are responsible for keeping track of numerous different passwords for websites we use in our everyday personal and professional lives. With so many passwords to keep track of, it can be tempting to use the same password for all your platforms. However, in doing so, this allows fraudsters to gain access to your personal information on a multitude of sites. Creating a strong, unique password (using a combination of numbers, characters, and letters) for each of the online accounts you hold is an effective way to safeguard your information from fraud attacks. Make it a habit to change your passwords every six months to make them harder to detect by cybercriminals.
If you struggle to keep track of all of your passwords, consider using a password manager such as Last Pass, which will help you create strong passwords and store them securely. Password managers also provide you the option to share your credentials with other people to ensure none of your passwords are ever lost “forever”. Preparing for the unexpected or inevitable moments’ in life is never easy but planning ahead can help ease the lives of your loved ones in the event of a personal loss. Sharing access to your password manager with your spouse, partner, or close family members allows your loved ones to obtain the necessary details to settle your estate and carry out your final wishes upon your passing.
2. Be PIN smart
Every day Canadians use their debit and credit cards to make transactions and withdraw funds from ATMs. Now whether you are making your weekly trip to your neighbourhood ATM or your local grocery store to make a purchase, it only takes that one moment to make you wish you could turn back the clock and shield your pin. Using your hand to shield your pin from others when making a transaction at an ATM, in-store, or online can help ensure your PIN stays under lock and key. Public transportation is how many Canadians travel to and from work, school, and home each day. Be vigilant of your belongings the next time you are waiting in line for the bus or are on the subway, as fraudsters now have access to sophisticated applications to hack your card information through short contact with your bag or wallet. By keeping a closer eye on your items on your daily travels, you can keep your card information safe and secure.
3. Think before you click
Receive an email or a text from an unknown address or someone claiming to be your loved one alerting you to a great deal on the latest iPhone? Stop and think before you click on that link! By clicking on unregistered links, you could leave yourself vulnerable to a phishing scam. Phishing emails include links designed to lure you to websites that gather your personal information or download malware onto your computer or cellular device all from the click of a button. Before entering your personal information online, conduct a web search of the company advertised in the weblink to confirm the organization exists. So, the next time you receive a suspicious email from a sender you either don’t recognize or who might be impersonating the identity of a close friend or family member, remember to delete or flag it right away on your device to help you avoid receiving communication from that address in the future. When in doubt, don’t click that link. To enhance your knowledge of phishing and other common scams, review the Competition Bureau’s Little Book of Scams to learn how to spot the signs of fraud and strategies to better protect you and your loved ones finances everyday.
4. Never share personal information online
From social media sites to online dating apps, Canadians are getting more comfortable sharing all facets of their lives online. With this level of online transparency, you can create a clear trail for cyber thieves to unlock your personal information. Staying safe online can feel like a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. Start by setting your TikTok and Instagram accounts to private, only connecting with people you know, and being selective about the personal information you share online with your followers. Be careful not to share personal details such as your: Date of Birth, Social Insurance Number (SIN), online passwords, PINs, or precise location on any online websites as this could put your safety and online information at risk if it fell into the wrong hands. Remember – the less you share, the more secure you will be.
5. Double up on your security
Enabling multi-factor authentication on your device can help you step up your security game and protect your online banking information. This two-step process adds a second layer of security every time you sign into your online banking, social media, or other website accounts. First, you enter your login name and password, and then you may need to enter a unique code sent to you on a secondary device to verify your account.
Reduce your risk of financial fraud… become a credit union member
We hope that these tips set you up to protect your finances from fraud in 2023, and credit unions are a great financial option to help keep your finances on track all year round. Not yet a credit union member? Find your nearest credit union click here.