Did you know that March is Fraud Prevention month? Fraud is a crime that threatens every Canadian, regardless of age, education, or income. It’s important to monitor your financial accounts closely for suspicious activity, but there are also some preventative measures you should be taking to help protect yourself against fraud.
Responsibilities—everyone has some, especially when it comes to fraud prevention. Here are the four main things you are responsible for to ensure your claim isn’t denied in the event of fraud:
Have a strong, unique password for each account that stores personal information, especially credit card or financial information.
Don’t share your PIN or your password with anyone. These codes are the keys to your account and sharing them automatically holds you responsible for how they are used.
Keep your browser, operating system, and anti-virus software up-to-date. In order to protect your computer and devices from threats, set your software to automatically update, and ensure your browser is set to the highest level of security. It’s also a good idea to regularly scan your computer for spyware, which is software that aims to gather your information without your knowledge
Only use secure internet and Wi-Fi connections. Your internet connection is a channel from the outside world into your computer. If it isn't secured properly a hacker may use it to get to your information or hijack your connection or computer for their own purposes.
A strong password is one that resists guessing. In today’s world, hackers use automated software (termed “dictionary attack”) to submit up to 1000 password attempts per minute. That’s why you want your password to be unique and challenging to crack.
Here are 3 steps to follow to create a strong password:
Mix it up—use a mix of numbers, symbols, uppercase and lowercase letters. A combination password will help you avoid using English word patterns, therefore increasing its difficulty.
Avoid using personal information and common words. This can make your password easy to remember—but at the cost of security. Think about how easy it is to find out someone’s birthday, or street name. And remember, common words that are found in the dictionary are highly susceptible to dictionary attacks.
Use a minimum of 12 characters. As your password length increase, so does the difficulty of cracking it.
If you have any questions regarding fraud prevention, contact your local credit union to learn more about how you can protect yourself and your family.