During the pandemic, people relied on their electronic devices more than usual to keep in touch with others and to work from home.
Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) show that this opened the opportunity for hackers to commit fraud, and the number of Internet scams in Saskatoon has exploded.
According to SPS, online scams have risen just over 500 percent in the last five years.
This year alone, the police have handled nearly 350 cases in which residents have experienced electronic device fraud.
“More people are interacting online, moving their work, their game to an online environment and as such makes them more vulnerable to scammers,” said S / Sgt. Matthew Bradford.
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CTO of Complete technologiesJustin Schultenkamper said the rise in fraud is to be expected as the Internet is used globally and for many reasons.
“Hackers don’t care where you live because everyone is in the same place when everyone is on the Internet.”
During the course of the pandemic, more people were stranded at home, meaning that they most likely used their devices more frequently to work, shop, and communicate with family members.
Phishing emails, fake links, and fake phone calls or text messages from someone requesting money or pretending to be a trusted source, such as the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), are the most common frauds in recent times.
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“I think it is nothing to worry about as long as you are taking the necessary steps to mitigate the risk as much as possible,” said Schultenkamper.
There are a few ways that people can stay safe online while continuing to use the internet for multiple purposes.
Multi-factor authentication is an example of a free service for email platforms that could help keep hackers out of your account.
“A big part of that is prevention and trying to educate people not to click that link or hit the submit button. Just take that extra second to pause before pressing that button or clicking that link, ”Bradford said.
People can call SPS if they feel they have been scammed or go to Government of Canada Get Cyber Safe website for more information on how to avoid Internet scams.
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