Why this message to you today? Each year the number of financial fraud cases continues to increase, with a dramatic increase in “phishing scams”. Criminals are becoming increasingly more resourceful and are taking advantage of the technology we use each day to invade our lives and obtain our personal information. The personal information they obtain is then used to defraud their unsuspecting victims or sold to malicious third parties.
What is “Phishing”? Phishing is the act of social engineering where the attacker sends fraudulent messages in the hopes of having their intended victim reveal personal sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, social insurance details, and even passwords. They will disguise themselves as working for legitimate sources. Often going to extreme lengths to create fraudulent websites, email addresses, or even claim to work for a well-known organization. Phishing attacks can come from a variety of sources, text messages, emails, and phone calls referred to as “vishing (voice phishing)”.
What Can You Do To Better Protect Yourself? As it is often very difficult to spot a phishing scam, however, here are some things that you can do to help protect yourself:
- Set up two-factor authentication – All online accounts, bank accounts, and email accounts should be set up so that any changes to your password need to be authenticated by a text, phone call, or email to a different device than you normally use to access the internet or emails. Otherwise, a bad actor can attempt to log in, then request a password change, and now can review your emails and request other changes to any businesses you deal with.
- To protect yourself from card fraud, it may be advisable to set up your banking accounts and credit cards to send an email or a text for any purchase of more than $50 or $100. But if your email account is accessed by “bad actors”, you may not see the notices in your email. For this reason, it is important that any confirmation goes to a different service.
- Review your “junk” or “deleted” emails. The person compromising your email maybe deleting the emails they are sending, so they are not visible until you review your trash or junk email
- Use a separate credit card only for online or phone purchases. This card would have a very low limit and deposits to the credit card may have to be made for any larger purchases, but any larger fraudulent transactions would be rejected by the credit card issuer for insufficient funds.
- Use complex passwords and change your password regularly. Try not to use the same password across multiple websites, especially passwords related to your banking or credit cards.
The bottom line: As Technology continues to evolve so too does its use in helping malicious individuals defraud thousands of Canadians each year and it will become increasingly more important to ensure the right security measures are being taken to protect you and your family.
Road To Mastery Principle: Be Forward Thinking: Protecting your income and your wealth is about effective risk management, which includes how you manage and protect your personal information from electronic theft.