In today’s complex digital landscape, hackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated, which means it’s becoming more difficult to tell real from fake and phishing from friendly. In fact, according to a recent study conducted by Interac, 96% of Canadians failed to spot fraud when put to the test. To help educate Canadians about fraud prevention, Director of Fraud Prevention and Partnership Rachel Jolicoeur from Interac shared her top tips for how to protect yourself from falling prey to online scams:
- Don’t ever share your email account password. Make sure the password is difficult and follows best practice guidelines, including a minimum length of 8 characters, combination of upper- and lower-case letters and at least one number and special character.
- Don’t click on phishing links that then lead you to sign into your email or your online banking. If you receive an email or text message from a vendor you weren’t expecting prompting you to log into your online banking or accept funds through an online money transfer, do not click on the link. Call the company directly to find out if the notification is legitimate. If you think the notification is a scam masquerading as an Interac e-Transfer, forward the email to firstname.lastname@example.org so our fraud team can further investigate.
- Avoid sharing personal identifiable information online – for example, participating in online trivia on a social network that asks you to share your birthday, your mother’s maiden name, or similar identification questions.
- Set up two-factor authentication on email accounts. If your email provider doesn’t have a two-factor authentication process, consider switching to an email provider that does.
- Don’t use the same passwords for online banking or email accounts that you use to access your social media sites.
- Regularly update your devices to stay up-to-date with security enhancements. Check your device for malware if you notice suspicious activity.
- Never click on any links you weren’t expecting. If you receive a deposit or online money request notification by text or email that you weren’t expecting, don’t proceed with the hopes it is safe.
- Ensure that you enter the email address correctly when sending an online money transfer.
- Be sure you know who you are sending the online money transfer to, and that they are a trusted person or vendor.
- If you are using security questions to send an online money transfer, ensure that you are not sending the password answers through your email.
- Also, be smart when it comes to choosing a security question. Don’t use questions that are obvious and make sure you avoid questions anyone can answer (e.g. what’s my name?). A good question is one where the answer cannot be easily answered, for example, “what is your mom’s middle name?”, or “what is the secret password I gave you?” It’s a good idea to agree on a shared secret security question before sending the Interac e-Transfer.
Canadians are a first line of defense in preventing fraud and have an important role to play when it comes to protecting themselves and their identity online. Armed with confidence, awareness, and the right information, you can do your part in protecting yourself and others from digital fraud.