OPP is providing tips to Cottage Country residents on cyber security and fraud prevention.

It’s Cyber Security Awareness Month throughout October and police are using the month to remind the public about the dangers of cyber-related scams and fraud in order to prevent people from being victimized.

According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, in 2019, cyber-related frauds accounted for 30% of all reported frauds and 40% of all reported financial losses.

OPP Media Relations Officer Jason Folz says there are a number of reasons why cyber fraud is becoming so prevalent.

“There does seem to be people being predators now more than ever online and taking advantage of others who aren’t using proper tips or tricks to keep themselves safe online,” Folz said. “Obviously this has become very profitable for criminals but it really just means we need to be more aware.”

The internet, social media and emails have become increasingly popular for scammers who often target people with false or misleading demands or solicitations.

Folz says identify theft and threatening emails are common trends among cyber-frauds.

“From traditional emails saying you’ve won the lottery and you just have to pay an upfront fee to people full out stealing your identity,” Folz said. So, the more you can do to protect yourself online and limit how much personal information you have out there will go a long way in preventing people from doing the ultimate – which is identity theft.”

Nearly 14,000 cases of cyber fraud were reported in 2019 nationwide, accounting for $45,418,900 and the CAFC claims that the trend is rising even more in 2020.

Folz says it’s extremely important not to give out personal or financial information and to create passwords for each of your different accounts.

“Using strong passwords is key. 1-2-3-4-5 used to work but it doesn’t anymore, it doesn’t cut it,” Folz added. “So, picking one you can remember that has characters, capitals and symbols in it will help prevent people from accessing your information.”

If you think you may have been a victim of cyber fraud or you know someone who has, you can contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.