Essential online safety tips for newcomers
By: Elie Ngoy
Published on: August 20, 2022
The internet is one of the greatest innovations of all time. Through the internet, our knowledge of the collectiveworld expanded, borders disappeared, allowing us seamless communication across the globe, and a newtransnational workforce emerged.
Many everyday services like banking, medical care, school, and education now utilize the power of the internet to enhance our daily life experiences. As a newcomer to Canada, you may not be used to modern Canada’s digitalsociety. The government of Canada guarantees that every resident has rights and freedoms protected by Canadian law, laws enshrined under our great constitution.
Protecting your sensitive information online
Before you provide any information online, it is vital to continually evaluate the source of the entity or individual you are dealing with and always make sure they are sources you can trust. Many online services now come with highly secure password protections that require you to enter a password before proceeding with basic movements, suchas bank transactions or dealing with the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) online portal. You must store all your strong passwords in a safe location, as keeping them online within the browser usually leaves you susceptible toveteran hackers.
People posing as government entities or staff
Newcomers to Canada must also be aware of online hackers that pose as government officials. Often, they will reach out to individuals through fraudulent messages, emails, or telephone calls. Be very careful, they are usually very good at what they do, and a newcomer may be unable to tell the difference. When they contact you, they may threaten you by saying you have done something wrong (like not filing proper paperwork) or that you may owe fees,such as unpaid taxes, to government institutions, usually the CRA.
As per the Government of Canada website, a Government entity such as the IRCC or CRA will never:
- Contact you over the telephone to collect fees or fines;
- Be aggressive or threaten to arrest or deport you;
- Threaten to harm you or a member of your family, or damage your home or property;
- Ask for personal information over the phone (except to verify the information they already have);
- Ask for financial information over the phone;
- Try to rush you into paying right away;
- Ask you to pay fees using prepaid credit cards, Western Union, Money Gram, gift cards, or any othersimilar services;
- Send police to arrest you for unpaid fees.
When these hackers confront you, always request the name of the individual you are dealing with and the exact department they work for, and then hang up. If you have lost money, immediately contact your local financialinstitution branch and notify the police in your area. If the call wasn’t real, report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
Avoiding public networks
Newcomers to Canada should also be wary of accessing personal information over public Wi-Fi networks. Criminals have learned how to intercept public networks and are very much capable of stealing your information.Please avoid logging into your accounts when on public Wi-Fi.
Always remember that your personal information is your personal information, and there will never be a reason for anyone to access this information. Your financial institution will never reach out to your online banking information,passwords, or contact information—they already have this. The government of Canada will never seek your information—as this is already available to them.
The internet is a beautiful space for exploration, imagination, and wonder. Please always remain vigilant andcareful, allowing you to enjoy the attractive opportunities available online.