As we spend more time online, fraudsters are getting more creative with scams in the digital space. Phishing is when you get an unsolicited email that claims to be from a legitimate organization, such as financial institutions, businesses or government agencies. Scammers ask you to provide or verify, either via email or by clicking on a web link, personal or financial information, like your credit card number, passwords and social insurance number.

Smishing is the same thing, except it occurs via text messages. These messages often copy the tone and logo of organizations you trust and usually include a call to action. They take many shapes and forms, but the bottom line is that they seek your personal details.

Tips to protect yourself

  • Know that reputable organizations will never ask for your personal information through email or text.
  • Ignore communications from unknown contacts.
  • Delete suspicious messages as they can carry viruses.
  • Don’t reply to spam messages, even to unsubscribe, and don’t open any attachments or follow any links.
  • To verify a hyperlink without clicking, hover your mouse over it. Carefully check if it is accurate.
  • Update your antivirus software on all devices.
  • Never use the phone number or email address provided in the suspicious message—use contact information listed on verified websites. 

For more information about fighting back against fraud, download The Little Black Book of Scams from Competition Bureau Canada. The booklet also includes red flags (things to watch out for) and ways to report a scam to authorities.

Source: The Little Book of Scams | 2nd Edition | Competition Bureau Canada