5 tips for online safety

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Newcomers can become targets of scams.

  • Dishonest people may target newcomers. They think newcomers still don’t know the law.
  • They can also take advantage of your need for a job, training or to gain friends.

Online scams can fool even the most experienced Canadians. Scams can range from identity theft to phishing (stealing your personal information).Through:

  • emails
  • infected websites (with malware)
  • phone calls

They use the stolen data to use your credit card or bank account.

Scam tactics

Over-the phone scams have increased in Winnipeg. (Read an example here: CBC News, Spike in over-the phone fraud reports has Winnipeg police on alert, Feb. 23, 2015).

How phone scams are done:

  1. Someone calls saying that they are with Taxation Canada.
  2. The person says that you owe the government back taxes.
  3. The scammer will tell you to pay through gift cards.
  4. He/She will scare you. They will tell you that if you don’t pay, the police will pick you up.
  5. This type of scam usually comes around tax time.

How some email scams are done:

  1. Your bank will email you (or call) saying you have won a prize.
  2. They will ask for bank account information.
  3. They will say that you have to give it now so you can get the prize.
  4. This is a way to steal your bank account information.

To know more types of scams, read:
Beware of top scams: newcomers vulnerable from Canadian Immigrant
Common phishing scams and how to recognize and avoid them by Dave Albaugh, Comparitech.

5 ways to stay safe from scammers:

  1. Keep your personal info private.
  2. Always protect your information. Don’t give out your:

    • Social Insurance Number (SIN)
    • Unique Client Identifier number (UCI)

    The SIN and UCI unlock a lot of information about you. Give them only to authorized persons. Here’s a list from Service Canada of those who can ask for your SIN.

    Your bank will never email you to ask for account information.

    • Call your bank branch first if you need to give your account number for a transaction.
    • Make a list of all your account numbers. Lock it in a safe.
    • If you get scammed, it will be easier to reactivate your accounts using the list.

  3. Keep your online accounts secure
    • Use strong user names and passwords to protect your accounts.
    • Never use just one password for all of them.
    • Watch this video from Google privacy. It has tips on how to create more secure passwords.
    • Always check your bank statements. See if there are transactions you don’t recognize. Review withdrawals from your account.

  4. Always verify online job postings
  5. Check job ads

    • It is a warning sign if it doesn’t mention the company name.
    • It can also be a red flag when the company does not have an address or physical site (actual office).
    • Call the contact number directly if you have questions.
    • Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if the company is legitimate.

    Never pay a fee for the promise of getting a job.

    • Legitimate companies will never ask you for payment to be hired.
    • A company may say that they will hire you after a training. Ask for a receipt if the training has a cost.
    • It is a scam if they cannot give a receipt, a copy of a contract, or any proof.
    • Don’t apply for a job offer that sounds too good to be true. Stay away from job ads that ask for little or no experience and offer a large salary. It is a hook to lure you to a scam.
    • Do your homework. Research the labor market for standard wages. Look for education and job requirements. Use the Canada Job Bank.

  6. Online shopping safety

  7. Think before you click
    • Don’t click links in emails, texts, or websites immediately. Don’t download materials from sites you are unfamiliar with.
    • Don’t click on pop-up ads. They can install malicious software and viruses.
    • If your computer is infected, get help from Google.
    • If you don’t know the sender, don’t open the email.
    • Keep your computer’s anti-virus software, firewall, security, and privacy settings up-to-date.

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