The holiday season is here, so it's time to gear up — not just for bustling crowds and festive holiday menus, but also for a rise in scams and cybercrime. 🙅
According to the RCMP, more than $530 million in financial losses were reported to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre for various types of cybercrime and fraud last year.
But don’t worry, we won't let the Grinches spoil you and your team’s holiday cheer 🥂! We've got the lowdown on the latest fraud trends and the ways in which you can prevent a cyber attack as well as what we are continuously doing to keep both clients and members safe over the holiday season and beyond.
- What is cybersecurity and why is it important?
- Vishing, Smishing, and Phishing: What are they & what should you know?
- Tips to stay cyber-safe
- Staying safe with your Today Card
What is cybersecurity & why is it important?
Cybersecurity is the digital armor that protects our online world & selves from potential threats and vulnerabilities 🛡️. It involves a set of practices and technologies aimed at safeguarding computer systems, networks, and data from unauthorized access, attacks, and damage. Cybersecurity is crucial for maintaining the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of our digital assets.
Why should this matter to you?
Learning about cybersecurity is crucial in today's digital age for several reasons. It safeguards personal information, prevents identity theft, secures digital assets, maintains business integrity, and contributes to national security.
With the constant evolution of cyber threats, cybersecurity education is essential to adapt to technological advances, prevent disruptions, and stay ahead of potential risks. Studies have shown that people who are more informed and aware of common cyber threats and online scams are less likely to become victims!
🤔 TLDR; it's about protecting ourselves, our data, our money, and our digital way of life!
Vishing, Smishing, and Phishing: What are they & what should you know?
In the vast landscape of cyber threats, three notorious schemes—Vishing, Smishing, and Phishing—loom large, each posing a distinct risk to our digital & financial well-being.
Vishing ☎️ employs deceptive phone calls to extract personal information, while Smishing 📲 relies on fraudulent text messages to achieve similar results. On the other hand, Phishing 📧 involves deceitful emails or websites to trick individuals into revealing sensitive details. Being aware of these different scams, and how they may be presented to you is the first line of defense against these tactics.
Unfortunately, these tactics are on the rise: the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported an annual increase in vishing and smishing scams, with scammers exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic for various schemes. And according to the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG), there were millions of phishing websites reported each month globally in 2023.
Tips to Outsmart the Cyber Grinches:
- Click Wisely: Avoid clicking any links from unexpected texts or emails. Instead, take questions about orders or deliveries directly to the company's website or initial confirmation email. When clicking links, hover to preview the URL and ensure that it matches the expected destination. Watch for subtle misspellings or variations that could indicate a phishing attempt!
- Stay Alert and Skeptical: Be cautious of unexpected calls, texts, or emails. Cybercriminals often use urgency or authority to manipulate victims. Verify the legitimacy of any communication, especially if it requests sensitive information.
- Verify Caller Information: If you receive a suspicious call, hang up and independently verify the caller's identity through official channels. Avoid sharing personal details unless you can confirm the legitimacy of the request. If a supposed family member in distress calls asking for a ransom, channel your inner superhero by double-checking with others.
- Update Regularly: Keep your devices, apps, and antivirus software up to date. Regular updates often include security patches that fortify your defense against evolving cyber threats.
- Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Enable MFA wherever possible. This adds an extra layer of security, requiring multiple forms of verification to access accounts, reducing the risk of unauthorized access.
- Use Strong, Unique Passwords: Create robust passwords for each of your accounts, and avoid using the same password across multiple platforms. Consider using a reputable password manager to enhance security.
- Implement Email Filters: Leverage email filters to screen for phishing attempts. These filters can help identify and divert potentially malicious emails away from your primary inbox.
- Secure Your Wi-Fi: Set a strong password for your Wi-Fi network to prevent unauthorized access. Additionally, consider using a virtual private network (VPN) for added security, especially when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks.
- Backup Your Data: Regularly backup your important files to an external hard drive or a secure cloud service. This ensures that even if you fall victim to a cyber attack, you can recover your data without succumbing to ransom demands.
- Tech Savvy Defense: Embrace Mobile Wallet/Tokenization with actionable intelligence, enhanced authentication, and customer education. This is crucial because it integrates advanced technologies and user awareness to create a fortified barrier against evolving cyber threats.
Staying safe with Today:
Our team works tirelessly to ensure our client and members are safeguarded against fraud as well as up to date with cybersecurity. Safety is our number one priority and we continue to invest in ways that ensure there is as much protection and protocol as possible. Here are a few recommendations from our team on how clients and staff can get ahead & stay safe from cyber threats and scams.
- Ensure your team updates their app & address: Make sure your team is on the latest version of the app to access the most updated security measures, safeguarding from unauthorized and suspicious activities. It's important that employees update their billing address to ensure transactions have their unique postal code identifier, to further safeguard themselves.
- Protect personal information: Advise your team to never share your card or other sensitive information with anyone, even us! Our Support Team will never ask for an employee’s card information, verification codes or login details, only their proxy number.
- Mastercard Purchase Protection Plan: Mastercard Zero liability applies to any purchase made in-store, over the phone, online or via a mobile device and ATM transactions. This can provide your employees some peace of mind, knowing they will not be on the hook for any unverified purchases.
Learn more about Today’s in-app security features, and more ways we are keeping employees safe here.
As you hustle through the holiday patron rush, remember these tips, stay vigilant, and spread the holiday safety cheer – not the holiday fear. Together, we can outsmart the cyber Grinches and make this season the most wonderful time of the year!
Want to learn more about how the Today team works diligently to combat fraud and cybercrime? Get in touch with us here.
Stay merry and secure! 🌟🛡