TORONTO – LIVING – March is fraud awareness month. “The reality is that cyber-crime has become an increasingly problematic issue, not only for the financial services sector, but for other industries in Canada and around the globe,” said Adam Evans, vice-president risk management at RBC. “It takes a combined effort between organizations and consumers to prevent fraudsters and cyber scammers from getting their hands on your private information.”
Technology has made lives easier, connecting people and businesses in an unprecedented ways. But with the steady pace of advancement and change comes the heightened risk of fraud, particularly digital and online fraud. Words like “phishing” and “smishing” that did not exist a decade ago have entered our everyday lexicon.
According to the Canadian Banking Association, 72 per cent of Canadians use online and mobile banking as their primary means of banking, up from 52 per cent in 2012. It’s clear that Canadians are accepting of new and convenient banking and payment technologies but it’s important they know how to stay safe when using these tools.
“Empowering our clients and the public to protect themselves is one of the best lines of defense,” adds Evans. “As Canada’s largest bank we believe we have a responsibility to help educate the public on common cyber, fraud and privacy scams.”
Canadians can do their part to stay safe
Watch the RBC Be Cyber Smart video series; a collection of cyber awareness tips for individuals, families, youth and RBC clients:
- Choose powerful passwords. Use multiple passwords, change them frequently and use ones that include a mix of letters and numbers: all essential components of online safety.
- Don’t respond to unsolicited requests for confidential information. Be aware of schemes that ask for personal or financial information – they could be pretexting.
- Beware of the phish. Do not click on a link in an email, call a phone number, wire money or take any requested action, unless you first verify that a request is legitimate.
- Be cautious when sharing on social media. Be careful about including personal information online, on social networking sites and in email.
- Be wary of public Wi-Fi. Avoid using public Wi-Fi to online bank, online shop or access any confidential information.
- Keep your personal information private. Laptop and phone screens can easily be seen and your side of a phone conversation can be heard by everyone around you.
Perhaps the best advice of all is old adages. “If it seem too good to be true, it probably is”. Keeping yourself safe means taking the needed steps to do it.