Stay vigilant against evolving crime

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You or somebody you know will have some assets stolen. It is not if, but when.

We are all linked in the online and mobile worlds, and that poses significant risks. Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal is a good example of how private information, in reality, is not that private.

Roughly 87 million people, including 622,000 Canadians, had their personal information disclosed and used. Many of these people had personal data revealed indirectly through their friends on Facebook.

A simple way of explaining modern-day risk is that very few of us have any real privacy.

And that is a tremendous opportunity for thieves and fraudsters. Cybercrime is very profitable.

A century ago, a notorious American bank robber was asked why he robbed banks. His answer was simple, “Because that’s where the money is.”

Fast forward to the present day and our dependence on wireless technology, and we see how data theft has led to money theft. Statistics Canada sites 23,000 police reported cyber related violations in 2016. And the Canadian Chamber of Commerce reported cyberattacks are costing Canadian businesses over $3 billion a year in lost time, money, and reputation.

This column has covered examples and risks of internet fraud and will likely include articles on that topic in the future.

The goal of today’s column is to encourage all readers to be aware of the real possibility of becoming a cybercrime victim, and to stay vigilant.

Sometimes an attempted theft comes directly over the internet. Other times the internet will allow thieves to identify you so that the theft can be committed by phone or email.

We have all heard stories, including ones of individuals losing significant sums of money. Bad stuff is happening.

I encourage everyone to understand the risks and know how to protect themselves. Technology evolves and criminals find new ways to manipulate it. Stay informed. Speak to friends, read articles, blogs, and news reporting recent cybercrime schemes and data security issues.

The Halton police do a good job at publicizing the risks and stories of cybercrime.

Equip yourself with knowledge to protect yourself in our digital world.