During these strange times of increased isolation and use of digital communication technologies, there’s increased activity of cyber threats to watch out for. We’ve put together some of the top phishing schemes and personal security concerns throughout Waterloo Region:
The convenience of shopping online is undeniable. It’s been especially true during the pandemic when online shopping is seen as a safer alternative than going to the store. A click here and click there, it can often be tough to keep track of all the things that are on the way. Thieves prey on this vulnerability and use phishing emails to say things like your package is "delayed” or "undeliverable” or "customs charges required”. These alerts can grab your attention and in a split second you may click on a link and enter sensitive info that will lock your shopping accounts or steal your credit card information.
People are always on the hunt for a good deal so many turn to online classifieds like Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace. Things like the latest smartphones and gaming devices are especially popular to buy and sell online. Unfortunately, this demand brings some characters out to make a quick buck or rob you of your merchandise. These are becoming more and more frequent throughout Waterloo Region and Southern Ontario. Police advise the public to use Safe Exchange Zones located in police station parking lots or meet in a well-lit and busy place like a grocery store.
With many of our online lives going to subscription services it’s sometimes difficult to keep track of what is an active or inactive account. Fraudsters know this and will send large email blasts trying to get people to act quickly to save their account or keep it active. They often ask the customer to confirm their credit card info or update other personal information that can be used against them later.
Travel Phishing Scams
Since the beginning of the pandemic this one has been a lot less effective but is still out there. Travel restrictions and stay at home orders mean that people have not had or made travel plans. Emails that appear to be from an airline threaten to cancel flight or hotel books unless they get updated credit card info from you. Another angle to the travel phishing is to offer a great travel reward or an apparent prize from a random draw that you "entered”. Also, most recently, travel plans scams have altered the email messaging to say things like "Your Refund is Here” and ask you to enter your banking information in order to claim it.
Trust Your Gut
If something doesn’t feel right or you have a hesitation about an email or online notification you receive, it is advised to take a step back and evaluate what the sender is asking you to do. Have you recently ordered something from Amazon? Does it makes sense that Netflix or another subscription service is contacting your for your personal info? In most cases they will instruct you to sign in to their official website to reset or verify your information. No reputable business is going to ask for your credit card or banking info through email. Keep alert and keep your personal info safe through the pandemic.
Visit Ontario.ca to Report a Scam or Fraud
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Staebler Insurance is a general insurance broker specializing in auto insurance, home insurance, small business and commercial insurance. Staebler brokers proudly serve Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, Stratford, Wellington County, Listowel, Fergus, Elora, and southern Ontario.