Online fraud is on the rise – protect yourself
While society as a whole is doing a slightly better job of protecting itself online, we can still do a whole lot better, according to the results of a recent study by Security.org. While it surveyed 1,000 Americans, Canadians display similar behaviours.
Fraud is gowing because more of us are online more often, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. Close to two-thirds of respondents said they’ve been defrauded online. Almost half reported multiple frauds.
Overall, our online habits are horrible. We use public WiFi too often, which is especially risky for those who store financial information on their devices.
Security.org’s Corie Wagner shared a few tips to help you protect yourself online:
• Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts. If that password gets stolen, you can be victimized multiple times. There are free password managers that generate unique complex passwords for each account.
• Use different accounts for everyday spending and auto accounts. Too many people use the same account; that means their information is in more places.
• Recurring charges are a growing problem, Wagner said. Fraudsters will post a small charge that could easily be mistaken for a utility bill or Netflix fee. It serves two purposes. The first is to steal, but the second is to see if you’re paying attention. If you don’t catch it, they could try a larger amount down the road.
• Scan your monthly statements very closely and report any questionable items. Sign up for alerts to your phone so you can be alerted about suspect charges within seconds. Those who do get alerts are nearly 10 times as likely to be alerted about fraud as those who don’t.
• One popular scam is at gas stations, Wagner said. Scammers insert a skimmer inside card reader sto steal your information. Check the reader to see if it’s intact. If it’s loose, misaligned or in disrepair, don’t use it. Give the reader a bump or wiggle before inserting your card.
• Watch for text messages or emails that look like they’re from a trusted source, but aren’t. They could contain malware or links to fake sites. These methods often say you need to take some urgent action to protect your account. The scammers rely on you rushing to do it without thinking.
East Kildonan community correspondent
Tony Zerucha is a community correspondent for East Kildonan. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org