OUR VIEW: Awareness key to fraud prevention

Fraud prevention month has come and gone, and if a recent survey is any indication, not many of us noticed.

The survey showed an overall lack of interest in what really is a major and ongoing problem. Questioning people about their cyber security and fraud prevention attitudes and practices, the survey showed that about a third of B.C. residents were indifferent when they read about fraud in the news.

In addition, the survey found that almost 40 per cent of the respondents either didn’t have or didn’t know if they had anti-virus protection on their devices.

We’re sure that all the hackers, scam artists and cyber criminals are sending them all a really big thank you right now. We’re not saying people should take vigilance to a paranoid level, but indifference is exactly what the cyber criminals are looking for.

It’s easy to put the blame for fraud on the victim, with an “I wouldn’t have been fooled by that,” but the truth is, we all get fooled at one point or another. Educating yourself and staying aware is about the only way to lessen the risk, because fraudsters generally aren’t going to come up with new ways to pick your pockets, just add some new variations to old schemes.

There is an overwhelming amount of media out there, and being tired of trying to cope with it may be one cause of the indifference found in the survey. But the same rapidly evolving technology that brings you that media, also works for the scammers, whether they get into your home via the Internet, your phone or plain, old-fashioned mail.

Educating yourself is the only proven way to steer clear of scammers – knowing when to just hang up the phone is a good skill to have.

Being vigilant doesn’t mean living in fear or changing your password on a daily basis. But you do need to be aware.

Black Press