The online marketplace suits young people’s need for speed and convenience, but it can also leave them vulnerable to identity thieves and other scammers.
Online auction rip-offs, phony purchase scams, spam and phishing (unsolicited e-mails that try to con users out of personal and financial details) are all popular tricks used by computer-based criminals.
Service Alberta has developed a variety of consumer protection resources aimed at helping young people sort fact from fraud.
To avoid unpleasant online experiences while continuing to enjoy easy and quick access to the Internet, consider these tips from Service Alberta’s Internet and Social Media tip sheet:
- Keep computers and electronic devices safe by installing software, operating system and firewall updates.
- If you bank online, clear your cache and browser history immediately after you finish a banking session.
- If you use a wireless network at home, make sure wireless encryption is enabled and protected by a complex password.
Before you make a purchase online, read these Internet shopping tips about the Internet Sales Contract Regulation. Sellers are required to provide:
- the business name, address and telephone number;
- a description of the goods or services; and
- an itemized list of the price of goods/services and any other consumer costs, including taxes and shipping charges.
The Changing Faces education kit includes educational tools developed by Service Alberta and a DVD mini-drama produced by Edmonton Police to help Albertans spot and prevent identity theft.
March 2015 marks the 11th anniversary of Fraud Prevention Month across Canada. Service Alberta works with police, other levels of government and reputable business groups to help Albertans:
- recognize fraud in its various forms;
- learn how and where to report it; and
- most importantly, how to stop fraud before a scammer cheats someone out of their hard-earned money.
More information on how to avoid becoming a victim of fraud can be found on the Service Alberta website or by calling the Consumer Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-427-4088.