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Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre Bulletin: 2021 Checklist-Be Cyber Secure and Fraud Aware

Digital lock concept.

With fraud and cybercrime reporting going up again this year, the CAFC created the following checklists so that Canadians can be fraud aware and cyber secure in 2021.

For Individuals

Be Fraud Aware

  • Don't be afraid to say no
  • Don’t react impulsively, scrutinize urgent requests
  • Don't be intimidated by high-pressure sales tactics
  • Ask questions and talk to family members or friends
  • Request the information in writing
  • If in doubt, hang up
  • Watch out for urgent pleas that play on your emotions
  • Always verify that the organization you're dealing with is legitimate
  • Don't give out personal information
  • Beware of unsolicited calls or emails (e.g. phishing) that ask you to confirm or update your personal or financial information

Be Cyber Secure

  • Protect your computer by ensuring your operating system and security software are up-to-date
  • Secure your online accounts, use strong passwords and, where possible, enable two-factor authentication.
  • Secure your devices and internet connections
  • Some websites, such as music, game, movie, and adult sites, may try to install viruses or malware without your knowledge
  • Watch out for pop-ups or emails with spelling and formatting errors
  • Beware of attachments and links as they may contain malware or spyware
  • Never give anyone remote access to your computer
  • Disable your webcam or storage devices when not in use
  • If you are having problems with your system, bring it to a local technician

For Businesses

Be Fraud Aware and Cyber Secure

  • Train your employees about cyber security and fraud
  • Have policies or a plan in place to help employees
  • Know who you're dealing with. Consider compiling a list of companies your business uses to help employees know which contacts are real and which aren't.
  • Watch out for invoices using the name of legitimate companies. Scammers will use real company names like Yellow Pages to make the invoices seem authentic. Make sure you inspect invoices thoroughly before you make a payment.
  • Don't give out information on unsolicited calls or to unsolicited emails
  • Educate employees at every level to be wary of unsolicited calls. If they didn't initiate the call, they shouldn't provide or confirm any information, including:
    • The business address
    • The business phone number
    • Any account numbers
    • Any information about equipment in the office (e.g., make and model of the printer, etc.)
  • Limit your employees' authority by only allowing a small number of staff to approve purchases and pay bills.
  • Beware of spear phishing. Have policies in place to verbally confirm requests for urgent wire transfers or purchases.
  • Review potentially fraudulent orders. Watch for:
    • Larger than normal orders
    • Multiple orders for the same product
    • Orders made up of "big-ticket" items
    • Use of multiple credit cards to pay
  • Review the Get Cyber Safe guide for businesses.

If you think you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, please contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or report online at