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Identity Theft

PREVENTING online identity theft and other cybercrime

The shift to an online world through e-commerce, social media, and electronic communications has made many things easier -- including the ways in which criminals can target you, your money, your family, and your business.

It has never been more important to take proactive steps to protect yourself. Criminals are constantly thinking of new ways to commit crime in the cyber world. Take some time to learn how you can take simple steps and develop good habits to protect yourself.

Report all cybercrimes to police.

Top 10 Ways to Protect Yourself from Cybercrime

  1. Update the operating system on your home computer and other devices to fix security issues.

  2. Back-up your computer regularly so you can restore or recover your valuable documents and family photos, if needed.

  3. Use strong and different passwords or passphrases for your online accounts. A passphrase, such as four words strung together, increases security greatly.

  4. Beware of unsolicited emails, texts, or phone calls from someone saying they are with your bank, credit card company, or the government (i.e. Canada Revenue Agency). Do not give or confirm personal information.

  5. Ensure the router for your home network is secure and password protected.

  6. When shopping online, only purchase on trusted sites, and consider using a separate, low-limit credit card.

  7. Be careful what you share on social media. Ensure you have the highest privacy settings and don’t give out personal information, like your birthdate. Even photos you post can have geo-tagging, which reveals your geographic location.

  8. Educate your children and other family members about cyber safety. Monitor their online activity and set parental controls if necessary.

  9. Report all incidents of cybercrime to your local police.

  10. Arm yourself with up-to-date, trusted information on staying safe online from the trusted resources listed at right.

Protecting Your Privacy on Electronics

The VPD strongly suggests that individuals and businesses always ensure all personal data is removed from their unused electronics before they are given away or recycled. Instructions on how to erase this data can usually be found on the company website or user manual. If you are still unsure, consult an expert.

Certain electronics such as desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and cellphones contain a wealth of information about you. There is also a growing number of products today that retain some personal information, such as your name, email, phone numbers, home address or GPS coordinates. These include:

  • your vehicles’ navigation system
  • SIM cards
  • smart watches
  • exercise bracelets
  • Smart TVs
  • video game consoles

Erasing your personal device from these devices lessens your identity being stolen by thieves.

  • Consider finding a new home for the device before recycling it at your local recycling depot.
  • Ensure the account service for the device is deactivated.
  • Reformat or delete all personal information from the device, as well as the SIM card.


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What does Nana Say?

Find out what the five main types of online fraud are and how #NANAsays you can prevent them.


Trusted Resources

As technology changes, so does crime. It's important to keep up-to-date with new and emerging trends, and best practices.

Individuals and Small Businesses

Get Cyber Safe

The Government of Canada has information and advice to protect individuals, families, and small businesses.


Government of Canada

This Government of Canada website helps individuals and businesses protect themselves from spam.

Canadian Centre for Cyber Security

Find information on cyber security from the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security.

No More Ransom!

For businesses hit with ransomware, Europol can assist individuals or businesses recover.

Global Cyber Alliance

Founded by law enforcement and researchers, this site provides free security programs for individuals and small businesses.

Youth and Child Exploitation

Need Help Now

The Canadian Centre for Child Protectionhas youth crisis support resources and prevention information regarding cyberbullying and the distribution of intimate images.


In addition to being the national tip line to report online sexual exploitation of children, Cybertip has information and resources to help keep children safe online.

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