As the pandemic continues, it will likely change (digital crime is on the increase already) the landscape of criminal activities and will shift them even more into the digital world. Due to lockdowns, movements restriction, drop in face to face social interactions, isolation, boredom, unpredictability, inability to shop in stores, and economic constriction, more and more people will now be spending more and more time online.
This is the prime time that offers criminals enormous potential to take advantage of cyber scams, digital fraud, phishing attacks, disinformation schemes, and other cyber-enabled crimes (business email compromise, email fraud, tax scam, identity theft, advanced fee-fraud schemes, romance scams, lottery and other 419 scams)
Here are some tips on how to keep yourself safe from Cyber Criminals:
Use strong and unique passwords and change them every few months. Do not use the same password for multiple accounts and do not share them with anyone. Password protect not only your accounts but your devices as well. Even though it is faster to sign in, it is best not to save your username and passwords to sites.
Social Media and Email Accounts
Keep these accounts safe by using the security options provided in the settings. Do not log into other accounts through your social media and email accounts. It is best not to share locations and work or vacation details as this can help criminals place where you are.
Securing Your Data and Having Back-up Procedures
Always back up any sensitive information stored to your devices and remember where they are backed up. Use your devices security features to keep data in the cloud secured.
Use new USB flash drives and only insert them into trusted computers.
Updating Digital Devices and Applications
Always update security software on your devices. You can allow your devices to automatically update the operating systems and mobile applications as this is very important for your safety and security.
Installing protective software on your computer such as anti-virus or anti-malware software, as well as VPN and password managers is also recommended.
Watch out for Phishing
Be aware of those suspicious emails, links, calls, and text messages asking for personal information even though it may seem to be coming from a legitimate company. Always look over the URLs and emails to confirm if it is the real thing. Sometimes fraudsters will change just one word or even one letter in the address and you will be giving away your personal information and bank details to criminals!
If you are banking online only do it through a trusted device and internet connection and definitely not through a public Wi-Fi connection. Make sure the sites have lock symbols or “https://” to ensure that the website is a secure one.
Also, companies such as internet or telephone providers, hydro, gyms, etc, banks, or government agencies will not solicit personal information via telephone call, email, text or social media request, and will never send you money by e-transfer!
Check all your bills, invoices, accounting balance sheets, monthly statements, annual income-earning declarations carefully. Additional or unfamiliar charges or earnings could mean someone else is using your identity. Do not give your information over the phone and do not send money to anyone without making sure you’re dealing with a legitimate request.
Protect your documents at home or in the office. Lock desks and safes, keep papers face down, and shred unnecessary waste.