Ottawa, Ontario, November 20, 2023 – The Communications Security Establishment (CSE), the Get Cyber Safe campaign, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) are reminding Canadian consumers to be vigilant for cyber threats while shopping online this Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
In the rush to secure deals online, it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of the big savings being offered by savvy retailers. As cybercrime activity continues to rise, shoppers must take the necessary measures to mitigate the risks of online shopping. According to the CAFC, there were 70,878 reports of fraud in Canada with over $530 million stolen in 2022.
Get Cyber Safe offers Canadians simple steps to stay cyber safe and protect their data this Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It is important to recognize signs of illegitimate online stores and only purchase from secure websites.
Canadians should be wary of:
- Prices that are too low – There’s a limit to how much consumers can expect to save.
- Red flags about payment – For legitimate businesses’ online stores, the process for paying for merchandise online should be straightforward and standardized – Canadians should be wary of processes that seem overly complicated.
- Sites that look poorly designed – Most legitimate online stores will invest time and effort into the user experience, with nice images, an easy-to-navigate website and a smooth check-out process. Spoofed stores don’t apply the same standards.
- Stores that are missing security elements – A padlock symbol next to the URL in the address bar that is open or missing indicates the website’s data is not secure.
- Typos or errors in the URL of the store – A common method of spoofing websites of popular brands is to substitute correct letters for ones that appear to be accurate, for example Go0gle.com.
Canadian consumers are encouraged to take extra steps to protect their data and accounts when shopping online, to avoid falling victim to fraud. These steps include:
- Never save credit card information in a browser
- Make online purchases through personal Wi-Fi networks. If purchases must be made on public networks, use cellular data or set up a virtual private network (VPN)
- Purchase from familiar brands
- Do research and read reviews
Common sense is a good guide for staying cyber safe during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday period. A simple adage that is particularly applicable during the holidays is if something appears too good to be true, it probably is.
The Get Cyber Safe and CAFC websites offer Canadians important information and tools to stay cyber safe in all aspects of their lives. Visit the Get Cyber Safe holiday resources and Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre’s holiday scams and fraud pages to learn more about protecting yourself during the holiday season.
Anyone who has been a victim of a cybercrime, a fraud or scam, should contact their local police immediately. It is also important you report an instance, whether you are a victim or not, to the CAFC via their Online Reporting System or by phone at 1-888-495-8501.
- The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security (within CSE) contributes expertise and knowledge to the Get Cyber Safe national public awareness campaign. It delivers key information via its website and various social media channels so Canadians and small-to-medium organizations can help protect their digital landscape and be safe online.
- The GetCyberSafe.ca website offers Canadians important information and tools so they can stay cyber safe in all aspects of their lives. With information for everyone from youth, parents and older adults to small organizations, and general guidelines to follow when working from home, Get Cyber Safe has Canadians’ cyber security needs covered. The website also contains an assessment tool that Canadians can use to improve their cyber security habits.
- The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security (within CSE) is Canada’s authority on cyber security. With the Cyber Centre as the single unified source of expert advice, guidance, services, and support on cyber security for government, critical infrastructure owners and operations, the private sector and the public, Canadians have a clear and trusted place to turn to for cyber security issues.
- The lastest Get Cyber Safe Awareness Tracking Survey demonstrated that Canadians continue to face cyber threats.
- 1 in 4 Canadians feel they are not prepared to face cyber threats, primarily because they feel one can never really be protected online.
- 1 in 4 Canadians say they have been the victim of a virus, spyware, or malware on their computer.
- 2 in 5 Canadians have looked up information about types of cyber security threats or how to tell if an email is a scam.
- The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre is Canada’s central repository for information about fraud. While collecting and maintaining information, they are also a national police service that supports law enforcement with disrupting crime, strengthening partnerships between the private and public sectors and maintaining Canada’s economy. They also provide fraud and cybercrime prevention and awareness materials to the public in an effort to reduce victimization.
- The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre works closely with the RCMP’s National Cybercrime Coordination Centre and are currently working on implementing a new cybercrime and fraud reporting system for Canadians and businesses.
- The RCMP’s National Cybercrime Coordination Centre specializes in fighting cybercrime through a coordinated approach. They’re a national police service that serves all Canadian police agencies and partners in their efforts to address cybercrime.