As the holiday season approaches the Bonnyville RCMP is urging the public to be vigilant against cybercrime, particularly when engaging in online shopping.
With the surge in online transactions during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, authorities are cautioning residents to take necessary precautions to safeguard their personal and financial information.
According to data released by the Alberta RCMP, the year 2022 saw a concerning rise in cybercrime within their jurisdiction. Statistics reveal a total of 34 reports of unauthorized use of credit card data, 726 reports of theft, forgery, and misuse of credit cards as well as 1,796 reports of fraud involving amounts greater than $5,000. Additionally, there were 5,653 reported cases of fraud involving sums less than or equal to $5,000.
To mitigate the risk associated with online shopping, the Alberta RCMP is offering the following tips:
Secure Passwords: Avoid reusing passwords and regularly update them. Create strong passwords by using a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters.
Multi-Factor Authentication: Opt for multi-factor authentication when available. This extra layer of security makes it more challenging for cybercriminals to gain unauthorized access.
Privacy Setting Check: Regularly review and adjust privacy settings on social media platforms to control the visibility of personal information.
Avoid Public Wi-Fi for Transactions: Refrain from making purchases using public Wi-Fi networks. Instead, use your own data connection or a trusted network to ensure a secure transaction.
Research Retailers: Before making online purchases, investigate the credibility of the retailer. Beware of deals that seem too good to be true and buy only from reputable sources.
Keep Devices Updates: Install updates on your devices promptly, as updates often include security patches that protect against potential vulnerabilities.
Beware of Phishing: Be cautious of phishing attempts, where criminals use deceptive messages to trick individuals into providing sensitive information. Verify the legitimacy of such messages by contacting the company directly rather than clicking on links.
RCMP officials emphasize the importance of these measures to safeguard against the growing threat of cybercrime, especially during the holiday season when online shopping activity peaks. By adopting these practices, individuals can play an active role in protecting themselves from falling victim to fraudulent activities.
The Bonnyville RCMP encourages the public to share these tips with family and friends to collectively create a safe online environment during the festive season. Stay informed and stay safe this holiday season.