Vancouver, BC – Saturday, January 28th, is Data Privacy Day across North America and Europe. First held in 2007 as European Data Protection Day, it has expanded to include 47 countries to raise awareness about the importance of protecting your personal and financial information.
Today’s digital world means scammers and thieves have an unlimited virtual landscape to work with. Whether you’re doing online banking or involved in any and all social media platforms, your information is out there and tech-savvy crooks know how to find it.
“So many of today’s scams involve the online world so it’s becoming more and more important to understand the pitfalls and protect yourself. Particularly when roughly 156 million phishing emails are sent globally every day,” says Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor for BBB serving Mainland BC. “Identity fraud is big business to scammers. Canadians lost 11 million dollars to ID theft and fraud in 2016, and that’s likely just 5% of what was actually taken due to lack of reporting.”
There are numerous ways to protect your data:
- Protect Your Assets: Laptops can be easy targets for theft or loss, so they should be locked up when not in use and employees need to secure them when they take them away from their work place.
2. Protect Your Data: Small business owners need to protect any data that is entrusted to them. Credit card accounts, employee social security numbers – any data you have – needs to be protected and encrypted.
4. Educate Your Employees: Your employees must be educated about online threats, business scams and how to protect your business’s data.
Business Data Breach, 4 Things to Do:
- Contact the organization that suffered the breach: They should have a hot line set up to address your concerns and answer your questions.
2. Monitor your banking and credit statements closely: Check every item on your bank statements and credit card statements to be sure they are legitimate charges and expenditures.
3. Contact any affected financial companies: If your bank accounts, credit card accounts, or investment accounts are affected, immediately contact the companies and request that the account be closed and a new one opened.
4. File a fraud alert with credit reporting agencies (Equifax/TransUnion): The credit reporting agencies are required by law to flag your credit report for 90 days if you file a fraud alert. Then if someone tries to open a new account using your information you should be contacted for verification.
- Be wary of spam emails in your inbox: Many phishing schemes are made to look and feel like a reputable company complete with logos. They may contain links that can upload ransomware into your computer.
2. Spam emails: They are getting trickier with personalized introductions and often refer to a problem with your account that needs to be addressed immediately or you could be locked out. This is a ‘call to action’ that needs to be deleted.
3. Never input personal information: Many phishing emails request input of personal information such as your Social Insurance Number, passwords, date of birth, and driver’s license number.
4. S.I.N: Never carry your social insurance card with you. If an organization requests this information, ask plenty of questions about who has access to it, how long it will be stored, and what it will be used for.
5. Review credit card statements: This should be done every month to make sure questionable charges are not showing up. Contact your provider should you notice anything amiss.
6. Social Media: Limit the amount of information to put on your profiles. Keep your settings secure. Even posting that you are away on a trip lets them know your snail mail may be for the taking. Avoid ‘click bait’ stories that could direct you to an unsecure website.
7. Update your computer’s security software: Some may update automatically, if not, find out what software you have installed, if any, and contact the company directly.
8. Passwords: Update them 3 times a year and make them difficult. Do not use names or words from the dictionary. Include letters, numbers, and symbols. Use a password manager application.
9. Avoid giving out personal information: Many stores request an email address for marketing or receipt purposes. This is not mandatory.
10. Avoid impulse buys: Many people get caught giving out information on glossy pop-up ads that offer free trials. Be the instigator and shop on legitimate and secure websites.(firstname.lastname@example.org)