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How to be safe online

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month. Public Safety Canada is working to enhance cyber security in Canada. Our mandate is to keep Canadians safe and when it comes to cyber space, we do that by working with industry, law enforcement and other governments both in Canada and abroad so that we can better prepare for and respond to cyber incidents.

As individuals, we all have a role to play to help make our online world more secure. Always follow basic precautions such as:

  • Protect your e-identity by changing your user name and password combinations regularly.
  • Read a website's privacy policy before providing personal information like your name, phone number, age, email or street address - even when it's a secure website.
  • Do not open email attachments, download files or follow links from senders you do not know.

Learn to recognize email "phishing"

E-mail fraud - also known as "phishing" or "brand spoofing" - uses fraudulent e-mail messages and websites that look like they are from a legitimate company, such as a bank, credit card company, online retailer or government agency.

The e-mail you receive may look authentic, with company logos and branding, but beware - you may have actually received this spam or mass e-mail from a criminal. The fraudsters will cast a wide net and send the spam e-mail to thousands of people at once, whether or not they are a customer of the organization, to "phish" for personal information.

Typically, these e-mails will ask you to update or validate your personal or financial information. There may also be some urgency to the request, warning you that if you do not comply quickly your account may be shut down. In other cases, the e-mails will promise financial benefit for the recipient if they reply, or ask for a verification of information to help protect the recipient from identity theft. By clicking on the links in the e-mail you will be taken to a phoney website that, again, appears to be legitimate, where you will be asked to disclose some personal information, such as your social insurance number, credit card number or online banking passwords.

Do not reply to any email that requests your personal or financial information. And remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

If you receive an email that you suspect is fraudulent, report it to the organization that is being “spoofed” or call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Centre at 1-888-495-8501 if you suspect that you have been contacted by a suspicious person or fear that your personal information might have been compromised.

Once you report it, delete the email. Do not reply, try to unsubscribe or click on any link that is provided in the email.

Helpful links:

Public Safety Canada
Canadian Bankers Association
RCMP Internet 101

This guide outlines steps that you and your family can take right now to best ensure that you are prepared for flood emergency events in your community. View and Download.

Emergency Preparedness Tips