Police promote cyber security
October is the month for both Thanksgiving and Halloween in Canada. But the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is concerned that some Ontario residents may be the targets of Internet tricksters who are thankful for public ignorance about cyber security because it allows for easy credit card hacks and other personal identity treats for virtual thieves.
The OPP and other police forces in Ontario and other parts of Canada have declared October as Cyber Security Awareness Month as part of a campaign to promote both Internet safety and public awareness about the risks of personal identity theft. The 21st-century criminal, an OPP press release, noted, is often going after information and data systems during a “virtual burglary” for valuables like bank and credit card account numbers along with other personal identification details that they can either use themselves to commit other crimes or sell on the “dark Web” to other criminals for their own use.
Last year the top 10 cyber scams netted criminals more than $1 billion from victims in Canada alone. OPP statistics translate that into 80,000 victims each day tricked into either divulging personal financial and identity information or using their own credit cards to either pay off bogus bills or buy goods and services that never existed or support fake charities. That’s about the size of the population of Sarnia or Peterborough, Ontario.
This year’s OPP Cyber Security Awareness Month campaign has four focus topics for both members of the police force and for the general public. Those topics are free Wi-Fi use and password protection, phishing and ransomware scams targeting individuals and businesses, risky email attachments, and online child safety.
Helpful information and details of the OPP cybersecurity program are available through the OPP’s social media links on Twitter (@OPP_News), or its Facebook and Instagram pages using the hashtags #CyberSecurity, #CyberAware, and #OPPTips. Local OPP detachments also have information pamphlets on Internet security and protection advice.
Anyone who thinks they may be a target of a digital fraud, through a suspicious email, or a phony website, contact the local OPP detachment or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, or to the CrimeStoppers toll-free tips line at 1-800-222-8477.
The OPP and other police forces in Ontario and other parts of Canada have declared October as Cyber Security Awareness Month as part of a campaign to promote both Internet safety and public awareness about the risks of personal identity theft.