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Easy passwords and free Wi-Fi can cost you plenty

There are many ways to ensure your safety and prevent becoming an unwitting victim of cybercrime that could cost you thousands of dollars, according to security experts and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).

Using a weak password while on a free Wi-Fi network can make your device more susceptible to cyber theft. You can strengthen your password by including a variety of symbols, letters and numbers. Try a minimum length of eight characters and use a combination of upper and lower case letters and at least one number. You should also commit your passwords to memory and don’t store them on your computer or mobile devices.

Wi-Fi connections present risks at home and on the road. Wi-Fi hotspots are common targets for identity thieves as they are often unsecure and accessible to anyone. Unless you are using a secure web page, you should never send or receive private information when using public Wi-Fi. Avoid conducting financial or corporate transactions on these networks and use a hard-wired connection when available.

Be aware that free Internet access points are sometimes established for malicious or deceitful purposes. These Internet access points are purposely named to imitate trusted access points. This access point may even indicate a higher signal strength than the legitimate one.
During Cyber Safety Awareness Month, the OPP, other police services and international partners are promoting public awareness to help prevent all Canadians from becoming victims of online crime. If you or someone you know suspects they’ve been a victim of cyber crime, contact your local police service, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, report it to the OPP online at http://tinyurl.com/hpz3uwu .

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