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Fraud and identity theft

Fake gifts:

What are they?


On the Internet, there are many real contests, but there are also fake contests that announce that you have won a game console, iPad, cellphone, etc., and that you will receive your prize simply by providing some personal information.


How are they dangerous?


They are dangerous because you do not know who is organizing the contest or what will be done with the personal information you provide. While the contest could be perfectly legitimate, it could also be organized by scammers who will sell your information to businesses that will bombard you with spam. In this case, you will never receive the prize you were promised.


How can I protect myself?


Here are a few tips that may help confirm whether you are participating in a real contest:

  • Never click on a link you receive by email or that is in a window that suddenly pops up on your screen. To participate in a real contest, you must navigate on your own to the contest website of the company that is organizing the contest.
  • Be sure to read the company’s policy on the use of personal information as well as the contest rules.
  • Exercise your judgment!
Phishing:

What is it?


Phishing is a technique used by scammers to obtain personal information (password, credit card number, date of birth, etc.) in order to steal the identity of their victim.


Why is it a source of danger?


A phishing email will ask you to open an attachment or click on a link to go to a company website that will trick you into providing personal information. You might also receive emails that seem to come from your bank and that ask you to provide your account number and password. When you click on the link, you will be taken to a site that looks identical to the one you usually visit, but all the information that you enter there will fall into the hands of scammers.


The wording of phishing emails is often alarming and will pressure you to act quickly. For example: “Important message,” “Urgent,” “Alert,” etc.


This technique is used by scammers to emotionally upset victims to the point where they willingly provide their personal information.


However, you should know that banks, the police, and most businesses do not communicate with their clients by email and do not ask for personal information by phone.


How can I protect myself?

  • Never respond to this type of email. If you receive a phone call asking for such information, hang up and find the telephone number of the company yourself in order to call the company back.
  • Do not click on links that are sent to you, do not open attached files and do not give out personal information. Keep your anti-spam and anti-virus software up to date as well as your operating system.
  • If you need to perform transactions electronically online, make sure that the site is trustworthy.
  • Web browsers usually provide a visual indication of whether a website is trustworthy, such as a green padlock symbol located to the left of the web address or in the lower right-hand corner of the browser window. This indicator ensures that any personal information provided there will be secure. The address of the website must begin with “https://.” The “s” stands for “secure” since any data transmitted there will be encrypted.
Passwords:

What are they?


Passwords guard access to data and files that are stored on your computer or in your applications. They must be unique and impossible to guess.


Why are they a source of danger?


Most people use the same password for all their applications and the same four- or five-number PIN for their bank accounts and credit cards. Since there are bots that are able to guess passwords, your identity could easily be stolen, as well as all the files on your computer, if your password is too easy to guess.


How can I protect myself?

  • Use a different password for every application you use.
  • Make the password difficult to guess: Do not use known words, names of friends or pets, your date of birth, etc.
  • Use a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters to create your password.
    Do not tell your friends or family your password.
  • Do not write your passwords on a piece of paper next to your computer or in a file called “Passwords” at your work station.
  • Change your passwords regularly.


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