Fraud Prevention Month – Are You a Risk Taker?

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Up until a few days ago, I had no idea that Fraud Prevention had its own month, which just happens to be in March! This is something that concerns each and every one of us everyday, as thousands of Canadians fall victim to fraud every year. In fact, though I don’t have the numbers to back this thought up, I’m sure that the more we interact online, the more we’re faced with nameless, faceless, bad people who want to scam us of our identities and/or hard-earned money.

Visa Canada released a study announcing that, “younger Canadians (are) taking risks with their financial information“.

[box type=”info”] “… few Canadians are taking simple steps to stay ahead of fraudsters. Just 10 per cent check their credit report on an annual basis, only 17 per cent have set up alerts to monitor card activity, and most surprisingly, less than half (41 per cent) report checking their payment card statement more than once a month.” ~ Gord Jamieson, Head of Payment System Risk. (source)[/box]

Just recently, a friend of mine was nearly scammed out of $8000 from a very convincing email. It took three of us to confirm that it was definitely a scam and not a potential client. Part of our uncertainty was out of the sheer luck that the content of the email coincided with that friend’s work. It sounded much like the regular emails that he receives on a daily basis, except for a few “weird” demands, all of which concerning credit card charges.

It scares me to think what might have happened should he have followed through with the requests.

How can you prevent yourself from being scammed online?

Don’t leave too much personal information on any public site, including your “private” Facebook page.  I cringe when I see someone leave their phone number on a public site like Facebook, Twitter or a blog post.  Every tweet and every page online is data-mined by robots in hopes of picking up that little bit of information that can help those evil-doers in using your identity for nefarious purposes.  Just don’t do it.

If you handle personal information online, such as your banking, clear that browser cache as soon as your done.  This is information that you do not want to be saved by your helpful browser.  Any basic virus could find that info quickly if your computer is ever attacked.

Multiple, complicated passwords are key. Just this past week Evernote had sent out an email to all of their users stating that there was a chance of their usernames and passwords having been hacked, and thus had reset passwords for all accounts so that the true owners could re-login and choose a new one.

This type of hacking is a constant threat that has disrupted normal service from a number of social media outlets. Just in the past year we’ve heard of online companies like Twitter and LinkedIn being hacked, and our personal information stolen.

So to keep yourself safe, use a different, complicated password that includes:

  • at least one number,
  • at least one UPPERcase letter,
  • if available to do so, at least one symbol such as: # % ! $,
  • and the longer the password string the better.  Absolute minimum should be 8 characters long.

Doing so means that if a hacker has figured out what your Twitter password is, they won’t be able to use it to get into your Email, Facebook, LinkedIn or even, your uber important Pinterest account.

Just what could a hacker do with that information though?

If I were a hacker, I would try those stolen usernames and passwords on other big sites to see what I could find. Or if the email address were something like “”, I would definitely test out the unencrypted password to see if the victim has used one main password for all of their online interaction, including email. Imagine all of your emails in your inbox right now – are any of them banking related? Cable/Internet bills? Is your home phone number in the Sent folder, ’cause you had to send it to your child’s hockey coach to keep up to date with future games?

Our life is in our emails, and its a scary thought that someone might have potential access to it.  The more information a hacker has on you, the more capable they are of creating fraudulent documentation, such as credit cards and drivers licenses.  Have you seen the movie Identity Thief?  It’s not the best work of Melissa McCarthy nor Jason Bateman, in my humble opinion, but it sure strikes home what a person can do with your information.

To get the most out of Fraud Prevention Month, VISA has created a fabulous little “Choose Your Own Adventure” to help recognize possible online AND offline threats to you and your funds.  Particularly based on the survey results that found that almost half (45 per cent) of 18-34 year olds reported taking risks with their payment card information! Eek!  Not good.

WATCH: The Concert by VISA

And now for our contest!  Thanks to Visa Canada, you have a chance to win a $100 (Canadian) Visa gift card! Enter through the rafflecopter form below. Please read the details of each entry carefully, as I am going to dislike deleting entries that do not follow contest guidelines.  The rules are simple and are only there to keep this contest fun for everyone!

Good luck! 🙂

$100 Visa Canadian Gift Card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Living in Superman’s Metropolis (aka Toronto, Canada), Aeryn Lynne found a way to entirely over-share everything she loves, and make a career out of it! Ultimately a geek, she waxes poetically over technology, squees over comic art, hunts down the nerdiest places to visit and literally sparkles, thanks to her makeup addiction.

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60 Comments on “Fraud Prevention Month – Are You a Risk Taker?

March 4, 2013 at 10:23 am

Unfortunately, I know only too well how easily a site can be hacked. 🙂 Change your passwords frequently and make them unusual, long and complex.

March 4, 2013 at 12:13 pm

Don’t use popular methods of picking a password – birthdays, family member names, etc.. Stick to a randomly generated or a mix of letters (upper and lower case) and numbers. Also only buy from places you trust and know and/or places with a solid reputation.

March 4, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Be aware of phishing scams. If you get an email saying that they need your password for a certain site, don’t give it to them. No company will ever ask for that kind of information.

Sandra Martin
March 4, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Make sure to change your password often. Also check your bank and credit card statements carefully. Thieves will sometimes start stealing as small amounts as .50 cents from your account to see if you are paying attention and then they start increasing the amount every month. You might just think it’s a fee being charged by the company. Pay attention.

March 4, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Even the most trusted sites can have dishonest people employed, check your statement often

Angela Massis
March 4, 2013 at 4:00 pm

NEVER share your password. Even with your best friends.

March 4, 2013 at 4:38 pm

password complecity

March 4, 2013 at 5:10 pm

I try to use a nick name publicly instead of my legal name and leave out specific details that might be misused

March 4, 2013 at 5:59 pm

great tips

mike K
March 4, 2013 at 5:09 pm

never give out your home address over twitter mentions

Maggie Stilson
March 4, 2013 at 6:35 pm

I periodically clear my computer’s cache and if something seems wobbly on my computer I immediately do a system restore.

Catherine Kelly
March 4, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Don’t share any financial personal information – ever!

March 4, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Don’t use an easy password…no birthdays, or easy numbers

Shari Goss
March 5, 2013 at 8:54 am

Only use secure sites and never click on a link you don’t know.

Shakti Sun
March 5, 2013 at 1:12 pm

It’s best to use common sense out here and stay safe 🙂

March 5, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Prevent fraud and save your money.

Geoffrey Hills
March 5, 2013 at 8:16 pm

I don’t shop on shady websites.

Alysha Millette
March 5, 2013 at 10:55 pm

i only put personal info on sites with https

Marlene V
March 5, 2013 at 11:42 pm

I keep my software and virus protection current on my laptop

Rebby Roberts
March 6, 2013 at 12:32 am

Don’t use the same password for all of your online accounts!

Dayna Wilson
March 6, 2013 at 12:56 am

Always, always remember to click “log out” after an online banking session, even on your own personal computer.

March 6, 2013 at 4:33 am

I use software to prevent from virus/getting hacked and share as little info online as possible

maria b
March 8, 2013 at 2:32 am

I shred all my old bills and invoices.

Harvinder K. S.
March 8, 2013 at 12:02 pm

I log out and clear cookies every time. I use complicated passwords and pin #s

March 8, 2013 at 3:23 pm

I always make online purchases at home, away from prying eyes

March 8, 2013 at 8:13 pm

For banking, and other online activity that needs to be secure, I only go online on my home, trusted network, and never use public access, (ie: library wi-fi). Most important stuff can wait until I’m behind my home security!

Tricia Cooper
March 9, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Change my password and clear the cache.

stacey h
March 9, 2013 at 1:28 pm

i only use secure networks

Belinda McNabb
March 9, 2013 at 9:29 pm

I use secure networks and do not use my card anywhere I am not 100% sure of

Andrew P
March 10, 2013 at 10:32 am

make sure you’re on https:// when handling any sensitive information (banking) Do weekly virus and malware checks, and don’t click on anything that you don’t know

March 10, 2013 at 10:31 pm

Change your passwords every 3 months, use lower and uppercase letters and also add some numbers, I’ve learnt recently that if you share wifi or get free wifi never do your banking with this service

Tina Lee
March 10, 2013 at 11:04 pm

Use secured connections and change passwords often.

March 11, 2013 at 12:04 am

I change my pw often. I always make sure that I don’t open emails that I’m not aware of, spam. I always shred documents that have my info on it.

Stacey Dempsey
March 12, 2013 at 8:13 pm

I check my bank account regularily and never share info

March 13, 2013 at 10:39 am

change my password often and never share any personal info

Amy Moreau
March 13, 2013 at 11:51 am

I change my password regularily and I check my bank accounts and credit cards often.

ruby galanida
March 14, 2013 at 6:09 am

I check my bank account and credit card statements frequently.

Tracy Martin
March 15, 2013 at 1:32 pm

I never use the computer at the library for personal business like banking or emails.

March 15, 2013 at 10:37 pm

I only use home computer to log into most of my important accounts and I change my passwords every few months for added protection

Tammy Dalley
March 17, 2013 at 2:56 pm

I change my password every other month!

March 17, 2013 at 5:42 pm

To protect my identity, I *don’t* Facebook with my full name and complete personal details.

Kim M.
March 19, 2013 at 6:12 pm

I seldom buy online.

Arjun Rudra
March 20, 2013 at 7:56 pm

Keep a list of all sites, apps that you have entered your personal information on and make sure to change your passwords often.

March 21, 2013 at 11:26 am

I limit my social media profiles from search engines and privately message people.

March 21, 2013 at 11:50 pm

I make sure that I use only legitimate sites and don’t give me credit card to someone I don’t know.

Soph Yee
March 22, 2013 at 1:34 am

I avoid visiting suspicious sites or downloading unknown software/programs.

March 22, 2013 at 2:26 am

I always make sure my browser has the ‘lock’ symbol at the top of my browser to let me know that it’s safe to make purchases online at those stores.

Cory F
March 22, 2013 at 6:28 pm

I never click on links in emails, especially ones that require a log in upon visting the site. I always go directly to the site and log in.

Natalie Chizen
March 22, 2013 at 8:15 pm

Always use secured sites – https

Betty Spry
March 23, 2013 at 6:05 am

use only one of your cards for online purchases and check statements or online regularly

March 23, 2013 at 12:01 pm

I always make sure to log off when finished doing my online banking

March 23, 2013 at 12:23 pm

i use different passwords for email, each online banking site, social media etc. if one area is compromised or hacked etc, then my password is still secure for other sites. i also regularly change my passwords and also make sure to clear cookies and always log-off sites properly.

entering in rafflecopter as jen s.

Clare B
March 24, 2013 at 11:14 am

Don’t overshare information to anyone

March 24, 2013 at 5:28 pm

I have a anti-phishing software installed.

Darrah Bailey
March 25, 2013 at 5:03 pm

Change your PIN number often

Matthew Pagazani
March 25, 2013 at 5:40 pm

+1 must do !

March 25, 2013 at 7:16 pm

Change passwords and clear cache often.

Arzina Esmail
March 25, 2013 at 9:03 pm

try not to use your real name, or don’t use your full name

Isaac C
March 25, 2013 at 9:19 pm

Don’t share your passowrd

June 6, 2013 at 11:10 am

The problem is, you can do every thing right, but if people want to steal from you, they will find a way. You just have to make it harder so they will move on.


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