How to stay safe online – There are more than 35 million Internet users online in Canada, and it’s predicted that by 2023, 99 percent of Canadians will be online. We conduct so much of our lives online these days, from our shopping and banking to organising our social lives. It’s now so commonplace, it can be easy to forget that we can also be vulnerable online, so here are some tips to ensure you and your family stay safe online. If you have young children or perhaps older relatives who are just getting to grips with the technologies, do make sure they too know how to protect their identities and their finances when they’re on the Internet.
How to stay safe online
Protect yourself from viruses
A computer virus can wipe out your entire hardware, you could lose all those precious photos, or have your credit card details stolen. Good antivirus protection is vital and with some great free software out there you have no reason not to install an antivirus programme as soon as you get your new laptop. You should also be aware of a scam that many people are falling for. A phone call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft or your Internet service provider will ask you to install software on your computer so they can remotely ‘fix a problem’. Don’t fall for it, they’re not from Microsoft, they’re hackers after your data.
Be aware of email scams
You should also check your emails very carefully before you click on any links. While some scams can be pretty obvious, a Nigerian millionaire wants to deposit millions of dollars in your bank account, some are way more sophisticated and will look pretty identical to emails from reputable companies such as Amazonor PayPal, asking you to click a link and log in. Never click a link from these emails, instead, login directly to your account via your computer.
Stay safe while gaming
There’s a wealth of entertainment available online but it’s very important to pick a reputable gaming site when you’re spending money on fun activities such as bingo or slot machines. If you’re visiting an online casino, check out the site first. Look for positive reviews, for example, if you search for reviews of CherryCasino you’ll find some five star reviews from their users and you can read all the information offered on the website. A good tip is to get in touch with the casino via email or online chat. If they are helpful and respond fast, it’s a good sign that this is a responsible and reliable place to play.
Stay safe when dating
Online dating can be a great way to find the love of your life, and it’s particularly beneficial if you’re not the type of person to visit bars and other social places or you don’t have a wide circle of friends. However, scams are rife in the online dating world so you really need to be very cautious. If someone is proclaiming their love for you very early on in your correspondence then alarm bells should ring. It can be so flattering that you don’t want to believe you’re being scammed but taking it slow and being realistic can save you heartbreak later on. Keep all your chat on the website, if the other person is asking you to talk outside of the monitored website facility then you should again be wary. Perhaps the most important warning sign is being asked for money. Never ever send money to someone you don’t know and have never met! Being asked for money is a sure sign that you’re being scammed.
Online shopping tips
Shopping online is fantastic. You can buy just about anything you want, whenever you want. If you want to book your vacation online at 5am while wearing your pyjamas then you can. It’s so easy these days but again you need to be cautious. Not every online store is legitimate. Always research the company you’re buying a product from or booking a service through. If the company name brings up a lot of bad reviews then avoid them. If a price seems too good to be true then be careful. What is the catch? When it comes to payment, look for the padlock icon in your browser to indicate that your transaction is secure.
A little caution is all you need
Use your common sense, have good virus protection in place and the Internet is a fantastic world of opportunity that can make your life more fun and far easier.