1: Phishing


Phishing is a type of cybercrime that involves a fraudulent email purporting to be from a reliable source. These often take the form of an email which asks the recipient to reset their account password, but can also take on a variety of other forms. The constant is that these emails will usually instruct the recipient to click on a link within the email. The link will typically redirect the user to a website that was set up by the scammer, and in the case of sophisticated criminals, the simple act of clicking the link can be enough to compromise your security.


To avoid phishing scams, companies can run “test” phishing emails to ensure their employees’ constant vigilance. On an individual level, anytime an email is received requesting a password reset, a best practice is to access the company’s website WITHOUT clicking the link in the email.


This will typically shed light on whether or not the email was authentic.


Another way to identify a phishing email is by clicking on the sender’s email address to see the address in its entirety. Oftentimes this will reveal an email address that is clearly not affiliated with the company that the email purports to be from.


2: Ransomware


Ransomware is the name of a type of malicious software that will lock the user or company out of critical information until the criminal’s demands are met. Typically these demands will include requests for large sums of money in exchange for return of the critical information.


It is critical to avoid ransomware attacks because there is no guarantee of actually recovering the information, even if the “ransom” is paid.


3: Arrest Phone Call scams


Another scam that has plagued Canadians for some time now is the dreaded phone call from a robot claiming to be from the Canada Border Service Agency, or another government agency, typically threatening the recipient that they are being charged with a crime, usually followed by a demand to pay a fee.


While most users will easily identify these as a scam, many fall victim to these scams every year.


It is important to remember that it is extremely unlikely that the government would ever contact you in such a manner for a serious issue. If you do have outstanding fines or recent criminal activity, remember that the authorities would never contact you by phone to collect a payment. The best thing to do is to hang up the phone and contact the agency in question directly.