6 ways to protect yourself against cyber threats

As a long-term investor, you know following time-tested investment principles can help you manage financial risk. Using the same principles can mitigate cyber risk. Building awareness, following a process, and monitoring your accounts can help ensure your private information remains just that.

Here are some tips you’ve likely heard while investing that can also work to help keep you cyber safe.

1. Diversify

  • Use a different password for each login. A password manager can help you keep track of your passwords.
  • Multifactor authentication and biometrics add layers of protection, especially for financial and email services.

2. Rebalance

  • Change your passwords quickly if there has been a breach.
  • Back up your data regularly using a backup service, cloud storage or an external hard drive to protect against potential data loss.

3. Focus on the long term

  • Don’t immediately click a link or open an attachment, particularly if it arrived unexpectedly. Check the sender and the file type and look for misspellings or strange file names.
  • Be wary of any communication that requires immediate action, payment or updates to your account information.

4. Partner with trusted professionals

  • Ensure your apps, devices, password managers and antivirus software come from reputable companies with a track record of security. Research the developer or manufacturer and use official app stores.
  • If you’re in doubt about a situation, talk with someone you trust. This can help you identify a potential scam.

5. Limit your high-risk exposure

  • Be careful when you log in to services on shared computers or over public networks.
  • Check your privacy settings on social media and be careful about posting personal information.

6. Check in regularly

  • Update your devices, apps and software regularly.
  • Monitor your account activity by reviewing your statements and account activity and checking your credit reports annually.

What if you've been scammed?

Protection is important, but so is your reaction if you should become a scam victim. What should you do if you’ve experienced a scam?

  • Report the incident to your local police and to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. They can also help connect you with the appropriate law enforcement agency.
  • Don’t be hard on yourself. Scammers are experts who exploit human behaviour. Some people don’t report their losses because they’re embarrassed, but almost everyone is vulnerable to some type of scam or fraud and regaining control is what's most important.
  • If you’ve sent a payment or detected suspicious activity on an account, contact the company holding the account. For example, if you paid by gift card, contact the company that issued the gift card.
  • Immediately change any compromised usernames and passwords. If the scammer has access to your Social Insurance Number, refer to the Government of Canada's instructions on reporting SIN fraud.
  • Monitor your credit reports with credit bureaus for any suspicious activity or any account openings with lenders or other creditors that you did not apply for The two principal credit bureaus in Canada, Equifax and TransUnion, offer credit score and monitoring services that alert you of any key changes. If you suspect suspicious activity, contact the creditor to advise them of any identify theft.
  • If you suspect your device has been compromised, update your security software, and run an antivirus scan.

We take your privacy seriously

At Edward Jones, we’re committed to keeping your personal and financial information secure. Our face-to-face approach helps us identify unusual activity. We also use firewalls and encryption, regularly test our security systems, and consult industry-leading security firms to identify potential vulnerabilities.

Watch out for these common scams

  • Spoofing/phishing — The fraudster pretends to be a trusted company, family member or friend, hoping you’ll click an unsafe link or attachment or share personal information. Thieves usually want you to act fast.
  • Business email compromise — The thief sends an email that appears to be from a trusted source, asking you to wire funds.
  • Charity fraud — Scammers create fake charities to seek donations, typically after a high-profile disaster.
  • Grandparent scam — The fraudster poses as a loved one in an emergency, such as an accident or arrest in a foreign country and asks for money to be wired quickly or sent via gift cards or prepaid cards.
  • Romance scam — The thief meets you online and works to gain your trust, eventually asking you to send money to pay for big-ticket items.
  • Tech support scams — You get a phone call, pop-up warning or email telling you there is a problem with your computer. The scammer convinces you to pay for services you don’t need and could also gain access to your computer.