Westminster Savings Credit Union offers tips for avoiding online financial fraud

New Westminster, B.C. - March 23, 2016 - The ease of managing our money online can come with a price: an increased risk of phishing attacks which try to get confidential information by posing as a legitimate source.

Phishing attempts are becoming more sophisticated for crimes like identity theft and financial fraud. A 2014 survey done by Pollara Strategic Insights indicates that one-third of Canadians have become victims of scams resulting in malicious software, disclosure of personal information and loss of money.

March is Fraud Prevention Month, and Westminster Savings urges members and consumers who perform online financial transactions to be vigilant and protect themselves against financial fraud.

Here are some tips to protect your online financial security:

Regularly change your email password. Email interactions sometimes leave enough information behind for an email hacker to use to compromise an account. Make sure you change your password regularly - ideally twice a year.

Sign up for alerts. Many credit unions offer security alerts. Members will receive an alert via text or email about any activity relating to risky transactions such as an e-transfer.

Secure computing. Consider accessing your sensitive online services (e.g. finances) only from dedicated secure devices, such as a work computer or a smartphone and in secure locations, not while using public Wifi. Family computers with many users can be easy targets for today's easy-to-infect malware.

Other ideas

Vacation alert. Let your credit union know when you'll be travelling to ensure your financial services are not delayed while enjoying your vacation. Your account can be better protected against unauthorized access this way.

Stay secure. Ensure your computer has an up-to-date malware scanner with real-time monitoring and removal capabilities.

To learn more about fraud, or report a fraud visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

What is Malware?

Malware is short for malicious software. The three phases in a malware attack most commonly used in online banking fraud are infection, data collection, and monetization. In phase one, a computer or mobile device becomes infected with malicious software, usually found via a link sent through an email or contained in a website.

Once infected, the malware can look for and record information from an infected computer or mobile device. The recorded information is than transmitted back to a command and control server or network.

The attacker will try to use the information taken from the user's computer or mobile device. For example, they may sell personal information to commit identity theft, or, they may continue to control an individual's computer and use confidential information for fraudulent activity.

About Westminster Savings Credit Union

At $3.4 billion in assets under management, more than 55,000 members and 400 employees, Westminster Savings is amongst the largest credit unions in Canada. Known for its customer and community focus, people oriented culture, and sound financial and operating practices, Westminster Savings provides a full range of retail, commercial, leasing and wealth management solutions to meet its customers’ evolving needs.

For more information, please contact:

Cathryn Tucker
604-519-4210
ctucker@wscu.com

 

1 http://www.visa.ca/en/aboutcan/mediacentre/news/how-to-catch-a-phish.jsp#.VtTL7scwzww Survey conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights for Visa Canada

 

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