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Online scams are on the rise. Here how to keep yourself safe while surfing the web

Click to play video: 'Digital self-defense to prevent yourself from falling victim to fraud' Digital self-defense to prevent yourself from falling victim to fraud
WATCH: Scammers have been getting more creative in ways to victimize unsuspecting people online and over the phone. SaskTel's Greg Jacobs has some tips to improve your digital self-defense against cyber criminals – Mar 2, 2021

March is fraud prevention month in Canada, and with more people communicating online, experts say virtual scams are on the rise.

SaskTel said people should be careful about what information they share online.

Read more: Recent rental scams in Saskatoon are reminder to think twice when shopping online: police

“Birthdates, the high school you went on social media — you know, it gives you a connection but it also gives more information to scammers,” explained Greg Jacobs, the company’s communications manager.

Most advice is the basic: he suggests using unique passwords for different accounts, and to change those passwords often.

Read more: With the high price of Bitcoin, are Sask. criminals cashing in?

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“(Not doing this) increases the likelihood that someone could break into that account and acquire personal information that they then can use for a larger scam down the road, potentially attaching your financial information,” Jacobs explained.

Click to play video: 'Fraud prevention campaign launched after Calgarians lose millions in scams' Fraud prevention campaign launched after Calgarians lose millions in scams
Fraud prevention campaign launched after Calgarians lose millions in scams – Mar 1, 2021

Another easy step: keeping devices that connect to the internet updated.

“Those software updates may be a bit annoying if you get one every month, but they’re very important, they have security patches in them,” he said.

Read more: Saskatchewan RCMP seek 3 suspects involved in online romance scams, victims out $2M

If you get an email or text that seems suspicious or you know is a scam, such as a ‘company’ texting claiming it owe you a refund with a link, Jacobs said its best to delete it.

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“If you keep it around, it just increases the likelihood that someone might click on that link,” he said.

“Clicking on that link is really damaging. That’s when those scammers can put some very nasty stuff on your connected devices and start getting some real sensitive information from you.”

Click to play video: 'March is fraud prevention month' March is fraud prevention month
March is fraud prevention month – Mar 2, 2021

Meanwhile, SaskEnergy is warning people about a telemarketing scam.

The company in a statement said it has received reports about scammers claiming to be from SaskEnergy or the federal government offering fake rebates.

SaskEnergy said people who received a call like that can report it to Saskatchewan’s financial and consumer affairs authority.

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