Cybercriminals pose significant risks in today’s hyper-connected world. It’s important to exercise caution and take proactive protective measures when using electronic devices for banking and other personal finance applications. Some home insurance offers recourse for victims of online scams and identity theft, knowing how to safeguard sensitive personal information can keep your life running smoothly. Please check your policy wording or contact your insurance broker to inquire about added this coverage to your policy.
Keep Your SIN Safe
Criminals will use your social insurance number (SIN) to misuse your confidential information and put your financial security at risk. Thus, you should always keep it safe and take practical steps to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands.
First, you should only provide your SIN when you are legally obligated to do so. Employers, government agencies, financial institutions, social assistance programs, workers’ compensation organizations, veterans’ programs, and other federal and provincial institutions may request your SIN when you are dealing with them.
You should keep your SIN card in a secure place at home, and don’t store copies of the number online or on any electronic device. Also, you don’t give your SIN out to anyone who does not have a legitimate need for it. Use this comprehensive Government of Canada resource as your guide if you’re unsure whether or not to provide your SIN to someone who requests it.
More Tips for Safeguarding Personal Information
The rise of online banking and electronic commerce have made it more convenient than ever to complete transactions, but they have also created new risks. Here are some additional tips for keeping your personal information secure:
- When shopping online, only make purchases through sites you trust. Choose established vendors that use secure payment platforms.
- Check copies of your credit report carefully to make sure that there is no unauthorized activity. Also, don’t be afraid to check your report if you feel warranted. Canada’s two main credit bureaus, Equifax and TransUnion, are obligated to provide you with one free copy of your credit report each year.
- Do not use unsecured wireless Internet networks, especially at home. They are like open doors for cybercriminals.
- Never open junk email, or anything in your inbox that looks suspicious.
- Choose secure passwords that include numbers, letters and symbols if possible.
- Change your passwords frequently, and don’t use the same passwords for multiple sites.
- Configure your online banking to automatically send you security alerts if unusual account activity is detected.
- Add multiple layers of safety by opting in to security questions that confirm your identity when logging into online accounts.
- Never use public computers to conduct financial transactions or other sensitive business.
Keep in mind that although it may seem risky, it’s best to keep your money in the bank. Most accounts come with “no-fault” clauses that will provide reimbursement in the case you are compromised. As well, home insurance policy limits may not fully cover you if you keep large amounts of cash stashed at home.
Beware of Phishing Scams
Phishing is a type of online scam in which a malicious user attempts to dupe you into giving them your login, account, or password information. They often pose as legitimate businesses or agencies, and attempt to communicate with unsuspecting users through email, social media, and instant messaging applications.
Here’s how to avoid phishing scams:
- Never reply to an email, online message, or phone call asking you to provide personal information
- If you’re in doubt, contact the business or agency purported to be behind the message you received and ask if the request is legitimate
- Do not open emails or messages from unknown users
- Never click on links within the body of any suspicious message
Remember: no legitimate company will ever ask you to provide sensitive information online. You should always look doubtfully upon such requests.
The Pitfalls of Identity Theft and Cloud Computing
Identity theft is a well-known problem, and insurance companies have responded by creating a brand-new type of coverage that protects you from it. You can learn all about it, and about how to protect yourself, by referring to our previously published article on the topic.
On that note, you should also be aware of the risks and pitfalls of cloud computing. The cloud has exploded in popularity, creating security risks every user should know about.
Home Insurance in Calgary: Protect Yourself with the Right Coverage
Lane’s Insurance is a leading Alberta-based insurance brokerage, offering affordable home insurance and a complete range of other products designed to meet the changing needs of its clients in today’s increasingly connected world. Visit Lane’s Insurance today for a free home insurance quote, and remember that you can save 20 percent with a home and auto bundle.