It pays to be careful about what personal information you share online, say experts in cyber security.
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, for North Shore News
Students of digital literacy in West Vancouver’s elementary schools are learning how to navigate the online landscape. But many adults still have a lot to learn about how to be cyber savvy.
The perils of over sharing online were heightened this week when a number of people reported previously private conversations on Facebook appeared to have been posted to their timelines.
We asked two experts including Const. Dave Townsend with the economic crime unit of the North Vancouver RCMP and Denis Gagnon, a West Vancouver private investigator, how best to protect yourself online. Here’s what they said: Have a good anti-virus program on your computer that’s up to date. If you’re running a program that’s several years old or one that doesn’t have the ability to update itself as new computer viruses and malware is discovered, it’s not going to work. Have a good spam filter. Don’t reply to emails from people you don’t know. Phishing scams are common. If someone says they are from a company you deal with — either online or over the phone —take their name and call them back on the publicly available main number (not one they provide) and ask to be transferred to the person. Protect your personal information (including online and also what you recycle or throw into the garbage.) Nothing with account numbers, names, banking or tax information should be discarded. If you must get rid of it, shred it. If a deal seems too good to be true, then it is. Trust your instincts. Check your Credit Bureau file with Equifax or Transunion at least once per year. During on-line transactions, place your cursor over the URL and see if it matches the described site caption at the bottom of the page. Often scammers will use an address that is just slightly different from a legitimate one. Teach your children and help to protect elderly family members by talking to them about scams. Be careful with your smart phone. It contains a lot of personal information that can be a gold mine for identity thieves. Treat your phone as you would your wallet. Make sure you use a password to lock the phone that is not easily guessed. Be careful what you put up on social media like Facebook and Twitter. Don’t allow personal details including your photo to be publicly visible. Don’t allow others to tag you in photos. Be careful what you say online. Someone who is currently an online “friend” may not always be a friend. Assume future employers may see what you post. Don’t let kids or teens have computers in their bedrooms. Ensure that their computer use happens in a public area of the home so you can keep an eye on it.
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