3. Be safe online

How do I protect myself from identity theft?
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3. Be safe online

You can do many things to stay safe online.

Always use virus and anti-spam protection programs on your computer. Make sure that you update these programs regularly. Use strong passwords that combine letters, numbers and symbols, and change your passwords often.

If you are shopping online, or using other websites that ask you to enter personal information, make sure the site is secure. Look for a lock symbol, and "https://" at the start of the site's website address.

Cell phones with GPS that share your location can also let people know where you currently are, or where you live or work. Be aware of what information on your phone the apps you download can access.

When you throw away your old cellphone or computer, make sure you delete all your information on it. Use the right software to overwrite your files or destroy the hard drive or chip.

Emails

Don’t send personal or financial information via email or text messages.

Be suspicious of emails that ask for details like your address, Social Insurance Number, bank account, or credit card numbers. Do not reply to unusual or suspicious emails. Banks and government agencies will never email you to ask for this information.

Do not click on any links in an unexpected or suspicious email from a bank, government agency or company. Sometimes fake emails or websites are made to look like they are real. If you are not sure, do not reply to them. Call or go to the company, agency, or bank and ask about it.

Do not call any phone numbers listed in an unexpected or suspicious email. Look for a bank, or company’s official phone number online or in a phone book. You can usually find an official website through a search engine.

If someone sends you an email claiming to be a friend or relative who needs help, make sure that the person is really who they say they are. Ask them a question that only your relative or friend would be able to answer correctly.

If an email looks suspicious, just delete the email.

Social Media

Learn how to stay safe on social media. Social media includes services like Facebook and Twitter. Be very careful about sharing personal information on social media.

For example, never share details like your address or date of birth. Don’t post pictures of airplane boarding passes on social media. Boarding passes have a lot of personal information in the barcode or along the lower edge. This can be used to steal your identity.

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Government of Canada
Consumer Measures Committee
Reviewed: December 31, 2016

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