Online safety: tips, tricks and our next client event!

November 22, 2017

Whether you’re someone who tweets and texts all day long or someone who can’t remember their email password, you probably spend some of your time on the Internet. It may be banking, shopping, streaming entertainment or using social media – these days, you can do almost anything online. No matter what your age or skill level, it’s important to understand online risks and know how to avoid them. Today, Mailey Rogers Group is sharing some important tips and tricks – and, inviting you to our next great learning event!

Join us on Thursday, November 30th

Presentation: Hackers, Crackers, Ratters and Trolls – a look at online security and safety in our hyper-connected world

Please join Mailey Rogers Group as Linda Fawcus, CEO of Gluu Technology Society, shares her expertise and tips on how we can all stay safe in this digitally-fueled world. Linda is an accomplished and entertaining speaker and we are confident that you will find this a valuable and engaging event. We hope to see many clients and new faces in attendance – please feel free to bring a friend!

6:30 pm – Wine and nibbles
7:00 – 8:00 pm – Presentation and discussion
RSVP: tannis.fuller@scotiawealth.com / 604.913.7033

Tips and online security tips

Tip: Keep your personal details offline.
While social media is fun, convenient and a great way to stay in touch, there has to be a line between ‘sharing’ and ‘oversharing’. It’s ok to put your first and last name on the profile, but avoid including your middle name. Leave your birthday off the profile and never share other personal details, such as your workplace, address, phone number or vacation plans (this raises a threat as it tells the public when you are going to be away). Make sure you have high privacy settings on all profiles, and never “friend” someone who you do not know personally and directly. If you share photos on social media, be aware that they’re online forever and can be downloaded/distributed without your knowledge. Setting image viewing to ‘friends only’ will limit this risk but not eliminate it. This is particularly important if you have children or grandkids.

Tip: Be password-savvy.
Your password should be unique and hard to guess – for example, a made-up word or a combination of meaningful words and numbers. Use different passwords for different websites (or at least for online banking access) and change them on a regular basis. Never give your password out to friends or family, or save it in a file called ‘passwords’ (that’s the first place a hacker might look)! Finally, don’t save your passwords on any websites – even trusted ones. It’s much more safe to enter your password each time you log on!

Tip: Use an encrypted Internet connection.
If you use a wireless signal in a public space, like a library or coffee shop, it’s likely an unencrypted connection. These connections are much more open to hackers and identity thieves, and should be used with caution. If you’re logging on to the Internet in a public space, avoid using your email and online banking, and definitely don’t make any purchases with a credit card until you get home.

Tip: Turn off geolocation.
Does your phone or iPad pull up your location, updating it as you travel from home to work and out for dinner? While convenient in Google searches and while using other apps, this can alert scammers to your location and lead to breaches of privacy. Instead, only have this location on while you’re using a GPS system via your mobile device. A quick Google search of “turn off geolocation” and the name of your device should lead to simple instructions.

Tip: QA your apps!
Many online apps will require you to give permission for the technology to view your contacts, photos, messages and other information. While it’s up to each individual to decide what’s comfortable for them, we recommend being choosy and thinking critically. For example, some apps can only function with access to your camera and/or photos (for example, Instagram and SnapChat, which are both owned by major corporations). Other apps – particularly less established ones – should not need to view that information. Look at who produced the app and determine if it’s legitimate and should be trusted. When in doubt, walk away!

Tip: Don’t go phishing (and don’t get phished!)
Phishing is when a person (or program) pretends to be a trusted entity in order to gain access to private information. A common phishing scam involves an email that appears to be from a friend or colleague, but is actually a virus sending out messages to the infected person’s contact list. The email may contain a link or ask you to send back personal details. If you click on any links or offer information, you are likely to be next. To stay safe, only open emails from people you know and trust. Furthermore, don’t click on any suspicious links, even if the email claims to be from a friend. If you aren’t sure, call the friend and ask!

Tip: Remember that phone calls can lead to online fraud.
Phone scammers have been around for a long time, but now, they’ve added an online twist. It’s not uncommon for a fraudster to call an individual and pretend to be the police, a lawyer or bailsman, your bank or even Canada Revenue Agency. Recently, a Burnaby man was defrauded of a large sum of money by a caller insisting that Bitcoin be obtained and transferred in order to solve a problem. If you receive a call like this and the individual asks you to transfer money (generally disguised as taxes owing, bail payment or another urgent matter), just say no. You can always call the police or CRA directly to follow up and ensure that no legitimate claims have been missed.