Internet Theft

 

1. Shop on secure sites. “Brand-name sites are typically safe while the security of mom-and-pop type sites may be questionable,” he warns. According to the Canadian Consumer Handbook, here’s how to tell if a website is secure:
• The web address begins with https:// as the ‘s’ indicates the site is secure.
• You can see a small icon – often a lock or key – in your browser window. The lock should be in a locked position and the key should be unbroken.
 
2. Protect your PINs and passwords.
Many of us have a unique and random password for each site we regularly visit and know we should also change those pass-words regularly. But you might find yourself entering one pass-word after another until the right one works on a particular site.
“All of those failed attempts are being recorded, most likely at the site you’re trying to enter,” says Malamed. An online password manager will secure and keep track of and manage your many passwords.
 
3. Have two computers.
Use one for surfing and the second for business and banking. By investing in a tablet or laptop for surfing, you can visit websites and click on links and downloads without the risk of losing valuable information if you’re exposed to malicious software.
If using an older computer to surf, delete your personal information from the hard drive using overwrite software or destroy and replace the drive.
 
4. Learn how to identify phishing scams.
Spelling and grammatical errors are one way to identify e-mails sent from scammers pretending to be a legitimate retailer, bank, organization or government agency.
"An easy way to spot a phishing e-mail is to hover your mouse over the ‘from’ and you’ll see the sender’s e-mail address,” Malamed says.
What appears to be an e-mail from a legitimate bank, for example, may really be from a Hotmail or other account.
 

5. Check your credit report annually: make sure it’s accurate.
You can get a copy of your personal credit report from Equifax or TransUnion.
Visit Consumerhandbook.ca to find out how to get immediate online access to a report for free or how to get a free copy.
 
 
 
 
 
6. Reconcile credit card and bank statements regularly.
In his work in forensic accounting investigation, Malamed is surprised by the number of credit card statements that contain items that have been incorrectly billed.
“If you see charges you don’t recognize, a little investigation could definitely be worthwhile.”
 
 
 
7. Protect yourself from identity theft - additional tips:
• Choose a password that has a combination of letters (upper and lower case), numbers and symbols.
• Make sure you have the most current anti-virus protection software and a firewall.
• Never follow a link in an e-mail to start an online transaction with financial services like banks or online credit payment sites. Go directly to the organization’s website.
 
 
 
8. Report suspected fraud
According to the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada survey, 48% of respondents who access the Internet are uncomfortable making online purchases.
CPA Canada’s book Protecting You and Your Money: A Guide to Avoiding Identity Theft and Fraud is available to order. Actual or suspected frauds can be reported at Antifraudcentre.ca or by calling toll free 1-888-495-8501.
 
 
Social Networking Sites
Criminals target social networking sites like Facebook and steal your information for identity theft. 
Leave blank your personal information:  date of birth, home address, school name and telephone numbers.

Click: Tips to Avoid Internet Theft