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Pandemic has created more opportunity for fraudsters, say police

If you suspect you may have been the victim of cybercrime or fraud, report it to your local OPP detachment

Working from home, online banking and socializing online have increased over the pandemic period and this has created more opportunities for fraudsters to capture your personal and financial information warn police.

OPP gives some hints on how to protect yourself from being a victim of cybercrime and fraud.

The following warning signs may protect you from online scams:

• Do not accept requests from people you do not know. You do not know if they have malicious intent.

• Be wary of profiles that seem perfect in their photos.

• Ask specific questions and look for inconsistencies in the responses.

• Be wary of those who always have an excuse as to why you cannot meet in person.

• Never send money to someone you have never met.

• Beware of profiles that do not have many friends connected to them.

• If someone is harassing or threatening you, remove, block and report their account.

• Spot other fake accounts when: they have a high follower count but low engagement, the engagement rate is too fast, they have a large following but very few posts, they have maxed out their following count, or they only share spam content.

• Keep an eye out for wording or messages that seem unnatural.

• Do not click on suspicious links.

• Adjust your social account privacy settings from "public" to a more restricted option.

• Do not overshare sensitive information (ie. personal, financial, when you're away, etc).

• Recognize that what you share online, will always be online.

• Do not provide your login details to anyone.

• Use a strong password or passphrase to protect your account.

• Remember to log out when you're done.

• Protect your account and your device by updating your software and applications regularly.

If you suspect you may have been the victim of cybercrime or fraud, report it to your local OPP detachment at 1-888-310-1122. You can also report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre's online reporting system or by phone at 1-888-495-8501.

"Everyone has a role to play to deter the increasing risk of cybercrime victimization within Ontario and around the world," says Thomas Carrique, OPP Commissioner.