411 Blog

Online Safety Tips to Keep Your Information Secure

Online Safety while shopping

More and more people of all ages, from children to seniors, are using the Internet to communicate with family and friends, online bank, make travel arrangements, seek medical advice, keep up with the news, and find information – making online safety a big concern. While using the Internet is a great way to stay connected, there are a few dangers that everyone needs to be aware of, particularly children and seniors. 

 

Here are some important online safety tips to keep yourself protected:

 

Create unique passwords and change them regularly

Creating unique passwords for each account makes it more difficult for hackers to gain access to your online accounts. To create a strong password, make it at least eight characters long with a combination of letters, numbers and symbols. Don’t share your passwords with anyone, unless you have dedicated someone to manage your online accounts.

 

Look out for suspicious emails and messages

Never open attachments, downloads and or click on links that look suspicious. Delete the email or mark it as spam or junk. If the email was important or from someone you know, they will try again or contact you in another way. Better safe than sorry. 

 

Protect yourself when online banking

Banking apps are the safest. You need to make sure that the URL of the web page starts with “https.” when on a website. The ‘s’ stands for secure. Legitimate banks will never ask for your personal information in an email, but it’s one of the biggest online scams by cyber criminals. If you ever get asked to share your personal information through an email that looks like it came from a bank – don’t, instead call your bank and verify by phone.

 

Online shopping and booking

Online shopping and booking vacations online are becoming more popular. It’s important to be cautious and make sure the websites you’re using are reputable and secure. Many sites that offer “amazing deals or cheap vacations” may be too good to be true. Once again make sure the site has a URL with “https” at the beginning.

 

Online scams and fraud

It isn’t always easy to determine what is an online scam and what isn’t. There are a few types of online scams to be aware of:

  • Personal emergency. Hackers may be able to get into one of your friends and family’s email or social media accounts and send messages to you saying that they are in trouble and need money, fast. This is a common scam. If you get a message like this, try to verify its true by reaching out to the person or their family
  • You owe us money. Hackers also pretend to be well-known banks or important organizations saying you owe them money. If you hear from a bill collector or government agency about money being owed by you or your family, don’t respond unless it is legitimate. It’s common for scammers to send bills to people who don’t owe money.
  • Your computer is infected. This messages either appears as a popup in your email inbox or on your computer screen saying that your computer has a virus or is a security risk. If you suspect your device is at risk, get in touch with a trusted expert first. Never download software or apps you aren’t sure about. If you get a call from a computer company or Microsoft saying your computer is at risk, hang up. Reputable companies don’t make these calls. If you are unsure, find the correct phone number from the legitimate company website or documentation supplied directly from the company previously and call back to confirm.

 

Ensuring your online safety may seem a daunting task, but is easy if you follow our tips. If you’re still unsure, you can contact our partners at eGurus to book a session with a professional technology tutor who can teach you the ins and outs of online safety.

David is a Marketing Communications Coordinator here at 411.ca. He loves all things sports, technology, video games, and of course, helping small businesses grow.