Cyber safety while shopping

November 19, 2021

Awareness

Alberta RCMP urges Albertans to consider cyber safety while shopping this holiday season. The holiday season is fast approaching, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday occurring in November, many people will be starting their shopping this month. Alberta RCMP would like to remind Albertans to practice cyber safety while shopping online. Awareness is an important part of crime prevention.

In Alberta RCMP jurisdiction in 2020, there were 49 reports of unauthorized use of credit card data, and of these, 0 were reported in November, 3 were reported in December, and 4 were reported in January 2021. Unfortunately, reports of unauthorized use of credit card data occur later as many people don’t realize they’ve been the victim of fraud until the next billing cycle.

Alberta RCMP statistics:

  • In all of 2020, there were 1,172 reports of Fraud (money/property/security) greater than $5,000.
  • In all of 2020, there were 5,533 reports of Fraud (money/property/security) less than or equal to $5,000.
  • In November and December 2020, there were 193 reports of Fraud (money/property/security) greater than $5,000.
  • In November and December 2020, there were 816 reports of Fraud (money/property/security) less than or equal to $5,000.

Here are some tips to protect yourself while shopping online:

  • Don’t reuse passwords, change them often, and be sure to use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters to create a strong one.
  • Many websites, especially social media platforms, offer the option of multi-factor authentication. Multi-factor authentication makes it more difficult for criminals to access your accounts by needing more than one piece of identifying information.
  • Review privacy settings regularly in order to control who can see what personal information is posted to your profile.
  • Buy from reputable sources and don’t let unbeatable prices cloud your judgement.
  • Avoid conducting financial transactions via public Wi-Fi.
  • Install updates on your devices as soon as you’re prompted. Updates fix security issues.
  • Phishing is a commonly used tactic for cyber-crime. Phishing messages ask you to validate the information by clicking links and may threaten you with legal action. Verify legitimacy by calling the company directly.

Cyber threats can be difficult to spot. Unfortunately, you may not even know that you’ve been tricked until it is too late. If you are the victim of a scam or a potential compromise, report the incident to your credit card company. Reset your account credentials for related accounts, such as your email or social media accounts. Report the incident to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or online at antifraudcentre.ca


Friendly Reminders

Report crime online!

The RCMP are encouraging all Albertans to report eligible crimes online (select property crimes under $5,000). Reporting less serious crimes online helps emergency dispatch and frontline members focus their time on high-priority calls. It provides a convenient way to share photos to the RCMP as well. These reports assist in crime analysis, aid in establishing trends and patterns, and ultimately leads investigators to the chronic offenders. It also assists in making decisions about how and where to deploy resources. Crimes reported online will be taken just as seriously as crime reported in any other way.  

Help reduce crime, report online! #ReportSmart

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