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Here are some best practices for protecting your information online. 

Internet Security

Through the use of various techniques and technologies, fraudsters trick unsuspecting
internet users into divulging personal and financial information.

Protecting Your Computer and Web-Enabled Devices
Internet banking provides convenient access to information and the ability to perform
transactions from home, work or other locations. Users must be aware that when you
communicate via the internet, other people and software can also communicate with your
device. An inadequately protected device can be accessed by an unknown party or malicious
software (malware) in a very short period of time, and without your knowledge.
To help reduce risk from damaging malware, we recommend diligent use of the following
security practices:

Computer, Laptop, and Tablet

Use a Firewall
When connected to the internet, users are particularly vulnerable to computer intrusions
and attacks because the internet connection provides "always-on" connection capability. The
likelihood of a malicious individual accessing your computer increases significantly the
longer your computer is on and connected to the internet. Remember – you can work offline
and only access the internet when you need it.
 Ensure your computing system has an up-to-date firewall to prevent others from
accessing your computer and your information through the internet.
 Always ensure your firewall is enabled and up-to-date.

Install Security Patches
Malware programs commonly target security gaps in operating systems such as Windows
and Android, and secondary software such as Oracle Java, Adobe Acrobat/Flash, and
Internet Explorer. Installing security patches is an important layer of security in addition to
the steps below.
 Configure operating system and secondary software to regularly install security
patches as soon as they become available, and consider removing secondary
software programs that you do not use.

Use Anti-Virus Software
Anti-virus software can protect you from "trojan horses" or other types of viruses, which are
programs that allow others to gain control of your computer system remotely without your
knowledge or consent. These programs are used to capture and transmit your personal
 Ensure your anti-virus software is enabled and configured to run daily updates and
regular virus scans.

Use Anti-Spyware
Spyware monitors internet surfing habits and collects personal information from the
computer. Typically, spyware is secretly installed and can be difficult to detect.
 Anti-spyware software can remove and detect spyware, but is most effective when
combined with a firewall and anti-virus software. Ensure your anti-spyware is
enabled and configured to run daily updates and regular spam scans.

Choose Unique Passwords
Choose passwords that are a minimum of eight characters long and include a combination of
letters, numbers, and special characters.
 Use a unique password for each login ID.
 Disable the web browser auto-complete function of your login IDs or passwords to
prevent others using your computer from having instant access.
 Keep your passwords confidential.
 Change your password regularly, especially if you might suspect it has been guessed
or seen by someone else.

Mobile Phones

Protect Your Password
Protect your data from theft - enable the auto-lock function of your mobile phone to ensure
that it locks after a short period of dormancy.
 Do not continue using the default factory password – customize your password
immediately using a minimum of eight characters including a combination of letters,
numbers, and special characters.

Update Your Operating System
Your operating system (OS) is specific to your device, with BlackBerry, Android, iPhone, and
Windows Mobile as examples of various OS. Check your mobile provider’s website regularly
for OS security updates specific to your device make and model, install security patches as
soon as they become available.
 Do not ‘jailbreak’ your device by trying to remove limitations imposed by the
manufacturer. This practice will disable or bypass security measures of your mobile
OS, making you vulnerable to malware and prevent your mobile from receiving
future OS upgrades.

Use Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware, and Firewall Software
If available for your make and model, install this software on your mobile.
 Configure to run automatic updates and virus scans.

Download Apps Only from Trusted Sources
Apps that seem legitimate can contain malware or be used to collect your personal data for
gain. Beware of apps that provide little company, contact, or website information.
 Research app customer reviews and requested permissions carefully before installing
– if the data requested does not align with app functionality, do not install.

Avoid Connecting to Unknown or Non-Password Protected Wi-Fi Networks
Wi-Fi predators scan public networks for unsecured devices to target and infiltrate through
hacking and malware. Only connect to public Wi-Fi you know and trust, and are confident is
secure and password protected.
 Disable settings that automatically search for Wi-Fi networks.

Avoid Activating Bluetooth in Crowded or Public Areas
The moment you set your Bluetooth to discoverable, hackers within range can ‘see’ and
possibly hack your device - mobile viruses can also be spread through Bluetooth technology.
 Never connect to unknown, untrusted or suspicious Bluetooth sources and strangers,
and never accept files from these devices.
 Immediately delete lost/stolen Bluetooth device pairings from your remaining
Bluetooth devices to prevent data compromise.

Online User Tips
 Do not click links in unsolicited email – the link may take you to a counterfeit website
that will solicit your sensitive data, known as ‘phishing’ and cause malware infection.
 Never open MMS attachments from unknown or untrusted sources - even if they
purport to be coming from your credit union or mobile provider.
 Delete unsolicited email or text messages without opening.
 Be aware of ‘evil twin’ Wi-Fi hotspots that bait unsuspecting users by impersonating
legitimate networks - always confirm you are connecting to the correct network.
 Store only data that your require on your mobile and erase everything else.
 Watch for signs of mobile infection: sudden unexplained increase in your phone bill;
unexplained messages in your email and social network ‘sent' folders, unexplained
user interface change you didn't initiate. Contact your device manufacturer or service
provider for instructions to remove malware if you suspect your mobile is infected.
 Verify the legitimacy of free apps, software, tools, online services before you use
them – research in your search engine and scan the results.
 Do not click on pop-ups windows that say “you're a winner if you click here" – these
can lead to spyware and malware downloads.
 Be wary of ‘freeware’ or free services online – even innocent looking screen savers,
fun cursors and Internet pets can be contain hidden malware.
 Do not forget to log off.

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In celebration of Canada's 150th Birthday, Canada's Credit Unions invite members to have your photograph or image of your artwork featured in the 2017 Canadian Credit Union Calendar!


Submissions Start Date: April 1st, 2016

Submissions Deadline: May 31st, 2016


Visit for more information. 

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Cheque Cashing/Online Classifieds/Money Transfer Job Scams

Scenario 1

When you try to sell services or products online, or after seeing your resume posted online, fraudsters may contact you. They will offer you the asking price for your services or products but when you receive the cheque, it is more than the agreed amount. The "buyer" says it's a mistake and asks you to return the balance using a money transfer service.

Scenario 2

If fraudsters contact you to offer you the opportunity to work as a "secret shopper", the job might be to test the services of a cheque-cashing or a money transfer company. The offer usually contains a cheque along with instructions for you to cash the cheque and transfer a portion of the sum over a money transfer service.


  • Beware if you find yourself in either scenario. If you cash the cheque and it turns out to be fraudulent, you could be held accountable for the entire monetary loss by your bank.


  • When you receive the cheque for the services and products, return it and simply ask the "buyer" to send another one with the correct amount.
  • The Bureau is unaware of any legitimate organizations using the said technique of employment. Beware when being approached to transfer money.
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Emergency scams target grandparents and play upon their emotions to rob them of their money.
In the typical scenario of an emergency scam, a grandparent receives a phone call from a scammer claiming to be one of his or her grandchildren. Callers go on to say that they are in some kind of trouble and need money immediately. They claim to have been in a car accident, are having trouble returning from a foreign country or they need bail money.
You may get a call from two people, one pretending to be your grandchild and the other pretending to be either a police officer or a lawyer. Your “grandchild” asks you questions during the call, getting you to volunteer personal information.
Callers say that they don’t want other family members to find out what has happened. You will be asked to wire some money through a money transfer company. Often, victims don’t verify the story until after the money has been sent.
In some cases, scammers pretend to be your old neighbour or a friend of the family, but for the most part, the emergency scam is directed at grandparents.
Protect Yourself
Scammers are counting on the fact that you will want to act quickly to help your loved ones in an emergency.
Never send money to anyone you don’t know and trust. Verify the person’s identity before you take any steps to help.
Don’t give out any personal information to the caller.
Does the caller’s story make sense?
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CRA Telephone Scam

Recent telephone scams involve threatening taxpayers or using aggressive and forceful language to scare them into paying fictitious debt to the CRA. Victims receive a phone call from a person claiming to work for the CRA and saying that taxes are owed. The caller requests immediate payment by credit card or convinces the victims to purchase a prepaid credit card and to call back immediately with the information. The taxpayer is often threatened with court charges, jail or deportation.
If you get such a call, hang up and report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
These types of communication are not from the CRA. When the CRA calls you, it has established procedures in place to make sure your personal information is protected. If you want to confirm the authenticity of a CRA telephone number, call the CRA by using the numbers on its Telephone numbers page. The number for business-related calls is 1-800-959-5525. The number for calls about individual concerns is 1-800-959-8281.
To help you identify possible scams, use the following guidelines:

The CRA:

never requests prepaid credit cards;
never asks for information about your passport, health card, or driver's licence;
never shares your taxpayer information with another person, unless you have provided the appropriate authorization; and
never leaves personal information on your answering machine or asks you to leave a message containing your personal information on an answering machine.
When in doubt, ask yourself the following:
Is there a reason that the CRA may be calling? Do I have a tax balance outstanding?
Is the requester asking for information I would not include with my tax return?
Is the requester asking for information I know the CRA already has on file for me?
How did the requester get my email address or telephone number?
Am I confident I know who is asking for the information?
The CRA has strong practices to protect the confidentiality of taxpayer information. The confidence and trust that individuals and businesses have in the CRA is a cornerstone of Canada's tax system. For more information about the security of taxpayer information and other examples of fraudulent communications, go to

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The Canadian edition of The Little Black Book of Scams is a compact and easy to use reference guide filled with information Canadians can use to protect themselves against a variety of common scams. It debunks common myths about scams, provides contact information for reporting a scam to the correct authority, and offers a step-by-step guide for scam victims to reduce their losses and avoid becoming repeat victims.
Consumers and businesses can consult The Little Black Book of Scams to avoid falling victim to social media and mobile phone scams, fake charities and lotteries, dating and romance scams, and many other schemes used to defraud Canadians of their money and personal information.

Link to PDF version of Little Black Book of Scams here. 

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March Is Fraud Awareness Month

This year marks the 12th anniversary of the annual education and awareness campaign that began in 2004 by encouraging Canadians to recognize, reject and report fraud.

Recognize, Reject

Thousands of Canadians of all ages and from all walks of life are defrauded each year. There is no typical fraud victim in Canada. Fraud targets Canadians of all ages and from all walks of life. Recognizing fraud is the first step to better protecting yourself.
Fraudsters are professional criminals that know what they are doing. Fraudsters rely on some basic techniques to be successful. These include:
developing professional-looking marketing materials;
providing believable answers for your tough questions;
impersonating government agencies, legitimate businesses, websites, charities, and causes;
pretending to be your ordinary supplier;
hiding the true details in the fine print;
preying on areas of vulnerability, including those needing help with loans or finding employment;
asking for fees in advance of promised services;
threatening legal action to collect on alleged contracts;
falsely claiming affiliation with reliable sources, such as legitimate news sites to support their products or services;
and exchanging victim lists with other fraudsters.


How to Report Fraud

Fraudulent or suspicious activity can be reported to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, through its website at, or by telephone at 1-888-495-8501.
Report instances of misleading or deceptive marketing practices to the Competition Bureau using the online complaint form or by telephone at 1-800-348-5358. If you are a victim of fraud, let your local police force know.
If you decide to file a complaint, it is important that you keep any evidence you may have related to your complaint. Evidence may include, but is not limited to, the following:
cancelled cheques
certified or other mail receipts
chatroom or newsgroup text
credit card receipts
shipping envelopes
money order receipts
pamphlets or brochures
phone bills
printed or electronic copies of emails
printed or electronic copies of web pages
wire receipts
notes taken as events take place
Keep evidence items in a safe location in the event that you are requested to provide them. This information may form an important part of any investigation. The information you provide could be used as evidence during a prosecution.

Tips to Protect Yourself from Fraud

Don’t be fooled by the promise of a valuable prize in return for a low-cost purchase.
Be extra cautious about calls, emails or mailings offering international bonds or lottery tickets, a portion of a foreign dignitary’s bank account, free vacations, credit repair or schemes with unlimited income potential.
Don’t be afraid to hang up the phone, delete the email or close your Internet connection.
Don’t purchase a product or service without carefully checking out the product, service and company.
Don’t be afraid to request further documentation from the caller so you can verify the validity of the company.
Don’t disclose personal information about your finances, bank accounts, credit cards, social insurance and driver’s license numbers to any business that can’t prove it is legitimate.
Shred unwanted personal information such as bank statements, credit card bills, unwanted receipts, cheques, pre-approved credit applications and old tax returns.
Check your credit report every year and report problems immediately.
If a scam artist contacts you, or if you’ve been defrauded: Report It! Your reports are vital to the anti-fraud efforts of law enforcement agencies.


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