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March Fraud Prevention

Cybercriminals, fraudsters, and scammers target everyone.

You’re not alone if you’ve been a victim of a scam. Whether you’re a business or a consumer, scammers prey on and target everyone.

Never feel embarrassed, scammers are getting more sophisticated with their tactics and scams and it can sometimes be hard to detect these fraudulent activities and cybercrimes.

As we spend more time engaging online using digital tools, apps, and social platforms, so too are fraudsters. Increasingly, digital channels have become major targets for cybercriminals, which provides them with new opportunities to separate you from your money. Scams are becoming more prevalent on social media, fake job sites, and more.

More than 56,000 people in Canada were victims of fraud in 2022, in total, there were over 90,000 reports of fraud resulting in a loss of $530 million.

Cybercriminals are leveraging:

  • physiological tactics such as preying on our anxieties and fears.
  • our social nature of sharing and connecting
  • our good nature, normal human tendencies, and feelings to manipulate us into giving away our personal information and/or our money.
  • these things to their advantage to launch malicious links and scams on social platforms, and online opening us up to phishing attacks and identity theft.

The number of fraud schemes created by scammers and cybercriminals to part you from your money is endless. While it is a threat, it’s up to all of us to take sensible precautions to safeguard ourselves against becoming a victim of a cybercrime.

The key is to stay informed and alert.

The best way to avoid becoming a victim of fraud is to be informed and vigilant.

Here are five quick and easy tips to do before you act:

  1. Take some time before you share your personal information
  2. Question the ask/request
  3. Re-read the details
  4. Read the fine print
  5. Consult a trusted person or sleep on it before you act.

Here are some examples of the ways cybercriminals use online and social platforms to trick you:

Phishing messages can come from people pretending to be your friend, companies, or just friendly strangers. Never share sensitive information or click on any links that seem suspicious - even if they’re from your friends.
The goal is to trick you into providing sensitive financial or personal information. Fraudsters can contact you by email, text, or phone call, they can use facts that you made public on your social media accounts.

Social media sites receive so much private information about us, the names of our friends and our family members, how we spend vacations, and the contents of our direct messages. It’s important to understand how social media sites are using this information and if they are selling it to advertisers and other third parties.

Malware is spread through social media through links. Once malware is in your device, it can send spam messages to your friends, steal your information or harm your device. Think before you click on any links.

Practice safe social media

Social media is being used more and more by cybercriminals to identify victims and steal your personal information by:

  • posing as a friend, a criminal could trick you into sending money or obtaining private personal information from you.
  • following your feed, a phisher could gather details for a highly targeted attack.

Here are a few tips to stay safe:

  • Set strict privacy settings on your social media accounts.
  • Keep your personal information private on social media.
  • Don’t tag or post your specific location on social media.
  • Know your friends and connections on social media.
  • Always log out of your social media accounts.
  • Use strong passwords on your social media accounts.
  • Use security software on devices you use to access social media.

Sometimes it is helpful to hear experiences from real people who’ve been victimized by fraudsters and cybercriminals.

Report it!

Scammers want you to stay silent, this helps them go undetected. This is why it is so very important to report it.

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre estimates that less than 5% of fraud victims report their experiences to law enforcement agencies in Canada. By reporting a scam, you can help law enforcement catch fraudsters and cyber criminals and identify emerging trends so they can warn the public, which can help prevent others from becoming victims.

Let’s work together to prevent it, reject it, and report it.

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