Watch for pandemic cyber scammers targeting Canadians

(NC) Many of us are spending a lot more time online as we adopt new ways of tackling everyday tasks – be it working, staying connected, shopping or banking. Amid a general rise in fraud and cybercrimes associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, RBC Direct Investing offers a few simple guidelines to help you stay safe.

Be aware of unsolicited calls, emails and texts

Emails or texts can sometimes appear to be from a legitimate source, but contain infected attachments or malicious links. Some red flags are threatening or urgent tones, spelling errors, unknown senders or callers.

Tip: Keep your computer anti-virus and anti-malware programs up to date to help keep files from being corrupted or lost due to a virus.

Watch out for fake websites

Fake websites can spread misinformation or attempt to scam individuals. Red flags to be on the lookout for include spelling errors in web addresses or a missing security symbol in the address bar.

Tips: Look for a lock symbol or an “s” at the end of the “http” in the address bar, which can confirm a site’s security. Don’t enter login information or credit card details unless you are certain a site is legitimate.

Use strong, unique passwords

Strong passwords can help ensure you’re protecting your devices and information. Avoid using the same password for multiple applications or services, and don’t opt for obvious passwords like family or pet names, birthdays and street names.

Tips: Use a combination of letters, numbers and special characters with a minimum of eight characters, change passwords regularly and create a new password for every application or service you use.

Keep software and browsers up to date

The operating systems on your devices have built-in security features, but they need to be kept up to date to help avoid breaches of your personal information. The browser you use to search the internet also has its own security settings and requires updating. Though they may be bothersome, don’t ignore prompts to update your operating system or browser.

Tip: Consider enabling automatic updates or try setting a reminder to update your device when you won’t be using it.