Tips to protect yourself from cybercrime

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Last week I covered Data Privacy Day, held annually on January 28. In summary, criminals want to steal your personal identity and use that information to steal your financial assets.

 Today, I’ll share some tips on how to prevent becoming a victim of cybercrime.

The best way is to be proactive. Anticipate how a criminal might successfully steal your identity, then make it hard, if not impossible, for that to happen.

Cybercriminals may try hacking into your private online accounts, including email, online purchasing accounts, and bank accounts. Make this as difficult for them as possible.

Protect your accounts with strong passwords. Passwords should contain at least eight characters, including a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. It’s a good idea to stay away from any words that relate to you. Also, avoid using the same password on different sites.

Don’t overshare. Banking information must be kept extremely secure. Don’t give details of your banking or credit card information on any of your other, less important, online accounts. Especially your email account. Be wary of requests to provide information such as birth date, SIN, or even your spouse’s name.

Check the backgrounds of photos posted to social media accounts. What information are you giving away? Does the photo of your new car include the license plate number? Little bits of information from all over the internet can add up to a profile.

Cybercrime and cybersecurity keep expanding. Be sure to use the most up to date version of your computer’s operating system as it will have the latest security updates.

To avoid criminals from downloading malware on your computer, don’t click on any suspicious links or attachments.

Be aware when using free public Wi-Fi, you might be exposing your data. Avoid using it especially when conducting any financial transactions or checking your bank account.

And finally, keep a close eye on your financial accounts. Be on the lookout for any suspicious transactions.

If you think you have been the victim of cyber fraud or theft, I recommend you contact the police to file a report.