It's B.C.'s inaugural Privacy and Security Awareness Day
B.C. Privacy and Security Awareness Day (Feb. 6) is a day dedicated to educating British Columbians on how they can protect themselves against cyber-crimes of all shades. From cyber-bullying to financial cyber-crimes, this awareness initiative provides us all a great opportunity to refocus on smart online practices.
Advances in technology can make our lives so much easier, but it also comes with a new set of risks. A desire to learn how you can protect yourself is an important first step in defending yourself against cyber-crime.
Here are some simple tips and tricks to help you protect yourselves from becoming a victim:
• Protect your PIN and personal access code. It is important to not share your PIN with anyone- even a family member. By sharing your PIN, you are jeopardizing your chance for compensation if you do become a victim of fraud. So play it safe, and keep your PIN and personal access codes to yourself.
• Report lost or stolen debt cards. Be proactive and report lost or stolen debit cards. Reporting lost cards right away is a short-term nuisance compared to a lifetime dealing with the consequences of identity theft and fraud. Even if you’re not sure your card has been stolen, report your lost card and get a new one issued. Even if it turns up a day later – better safe than sorry.
• Request a credit report at least once a year. The idea of requesting and looking through a credit report sounds a little tedious, but it’s a proactive measure that can help you stay in touch with where you stand in terms of credit. This is a great exercise before you make any large purchases, like a car or new home. Requesting a credit report will help to eliminate any potential surprises you may encounter while you go through the qualification process.
• Don’t share your credit card or SIN information. A lot of scammers are becoming more and more sophisticated. They camouflage themselves as big businesses and call customers with unbelievable offers. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
• Don’t give your personal information out to anyone until you’ve verified the authenticity of the business. No reputable financial institution will call customers asking for personal information over the phone or via an unsolicited email. So, keep your spidey senses on high alert whenever you receive a call or email from anyone asking for more information than they should ever need, because you never know who may be targeting you.
The goal here is to make it as tough as possible for fraudsters to get your information. Follow these simple tips and tricks to ensure that you always ask, report, and do your research before giving out any personal information. Small inconveniences may save you from big financial headaches.
For more information on what you can do to protect yourself and B.C. Privacy and Security Awareness Day, visit www.bcaware.ca
Kathy McGarrigle is Chief Operating Officer for Coast Capital Savings.