We lock our doors when we leave, tuck valuables out of sight in the car and stay on alert when walking in dark laneways at night.
We’re been well educated about how to thwart crime in our personal lives, keeping our homes and personal safety top of mind.
But another type of crime is becoming more prevalent and it’s far more sophisticated than simple emails from someone suggesting he is a wealthy Nigerian businessman who needs our help in seeing his millions safely extracted from the country.
We’re talking about cybercrime, something several Kamloops residents have gained new insights about this month.
Christina Mader’s contacts received false emails that she’d been mugged in London and was in desperate need of immediate cash.
Natalie Franzen had her computer taken over with a fake message from the “Police Cybercrime Investigation Department” showing her IP address and location, saying she’d been busted for downloading child porn, was linked to terrorist activity and was being video recorded.
Then her webcam turned on and she was instructed to send money or criminal charges would be filed and her computer would stay frozen.
And City councillor Nelly Dever was the victim of a scam similar to the one Mader dealt with, but it was upped a notch. Her email contacts disappeared for a few days, during which time she feels the hackers read her messages because an outgoing message that asked contacts to help her out of her cash crunch while in Scotland included her personal details and a photo.
What can people do aside from never going on the Internet again?
As the chance of successfully finding and prosecuting the masterminds behind such scams is slim, we must go on the defensive.
Just as we use caution when on a dark street, there are a few steps experts suggest that are becoming more important:
* Never open attachments from unknown senders.
* Protect your computer with a firewall, and reputable anti-virus and anti-spyware programs, not ones you download after receiving a message that your computer has a virus, which are also a scam.
* Turn off your computer when it’s not in use or disconnect it from the Internet.
Nothing is fail-safe but as cyberscams become more ingenious, we must do what we can to safeguard our personal information with the same vigilance we do our possessions and personal well-being.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by editor Robert Koopmans, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, news editor Mike Cornell or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.