Tools to help you outsmart fraudsters
A Toronto-based millennial money expert offers tips to improve your online security
If a recent surge in spam text messages and suspicious DMs on Instagram has you feeling like online scams are on the rise, it’s not your imagination.
Canadians lost a record $531 million to fraud last year, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. And with more than 6,600 fraud reports filed in January 2023 alone, there’s no sign of online scammers letting up.
It can happen to anyone
Jessica Moorhouse, Toronto-based millennial money expert and host of the More Money podcast, almost became part of these statistics herself amid the chaos of moving and changing addresses last year. She received an email claiming to be from a postal company asking to confirm personal details in order to deliver a package with an illegible address.
“The scammer caught me at the perfect time,” she says. “I was busy, stressed and exhausted from moving. Because I wasn’t 100 per cent alert and aware, I didn’t think about the obvious red flags.”
It was only when the scammers asked for Moorhouse’s credit card details in an online chat that she clued into what was going on. “Thankfully nothing bad happened,” she says. “But it just made me aware of how easy it is to get scammed.”
Moorhouse’s experience demonstrates that even tech-savvy users need tools to help protect themselves—especially during tax season or the holidays, when we often share financial information online.
Here are four tips from Moorhouse on how to help protect yourself from cybercrime and minimize the fallout if you are targeted.
Use technology to outsmart fraudsters
With scams so abundant and techniques becoming increasingly sophisticated, it’s more important than ever to better protect ourselves online. “The reality is, everyone is always at risk,” Moorhouse says.
While strategies like using strong passwords, VPNs and encryption can help, they can be incredibly tedious. That’s why Moorhouse recommends one tool to take care of the heavy lifting. “TELUS Online Security powered by Norton is a multi-layered solution that helps protect your personal and financial information,” she says. “It can help protect against threats, detect and alert you to use of your personal information, and help you recover from identity theft should the worst happen.”
Monitor to help catch scams sooner
While many think it will never happen to them, Moorhouse says others in her life have been targeted, too. Her friend Stephanie Damgaard accumulated more than $6,000 in losses after a credit card was opened in her name. “The startling part was that even though Stephanie checked her credit report regularly, she didn’t find out about the fraud until it went to collections,” Moorhouse says.
TELUS Online Security’s monitoring features allow you to proactively keep tabs on your social media, your financial accounts and even the dark web for anything suspicious. “Catching a problem early,” Moorhouse says, “can help you to avoid your losses getting bigger.”
Get help from the pros
Staying on top of the latest scams isn’t easy, but you don’t have to go it alone. Moorhouse notes that TELUS Online Security monitors the threat landscape and even offers 24/7 live support. “Even large, sophisticated companies can be affected,” she says. “That’s why it’s important to be backed by trusted solutions to help protect you against fraud and identity theft.”
Have a plan for the worst-case scenario
Despite your best efforts, there’s still a chance your information or identity could be compromised. In fact, it could be already!
Moorhouse notes that whenever you engage with a business or organization online, you could be leaving them with your personal data. This includes seemingly harmless activities like shopping online, signing up for a rewards program or making a donation. All it takes is for one of these organizations to be breached for your data to be compromised and potentially sold online to hackers and identity thieves.
She advises that if such a thing does occur, TELUS Online Security can help reduce pain from the fallout. “It gives you access to dedicated restoration specialists if your identity is stolen, so you don’t have to deal with this alone.”
Thanks to TELUS Online Security, “I definitely sleep better at night,” says Moorhouse. “The truth is, I can’t be 100 per cent alert on all the potential cyberthreats at all times. I’m busy with other things, which almost got me into trouble in the first place. Having TELUS Online Security gives me so much peace of mind.”
Join the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who already trust TELUS Online Security to help protect themselves at telus.com/OnlineSecurity. You can also find out if your personal info has been exposed to fraudsters on the dark web with a free dark web scan: telus.com/DarkWeb.