Canada’s banks and Credit Unions have teamed up to participate in an international effort to help consumers protect themselves, their computers and their mobile devices from cyber crime.

Keep Your Mobile Devices Secure

With the explosion of technology people are more connected than ever. Mobile devices have made it quicker and easier to conduct business and for family and friends to keep in touch. The new technology also means that we are susceptible to stolen devices and information. Criminals can now try to gain access to personal and financial information such as passwords, personal banking and credit card details through your mobile device. Once the criminals have obtained this information it can be used or sold to others to make fraudulent transactions or to create a new identity.

Banks and other businesses have sophisticated security systems in place to protect your personal and financial information and provide you with a safe mobile environment. Criminals know these strong protections are very difficult to overcome, so they try to get your confidential information directly from you. To avoid becoming a victim, it is important to understand what kinds of scams are out there and how you can protect your home computer, laptop, mobile devices, tablets and your personal information.

Mobile, Smartphone, Tablet: A safe and secure experience

In order to make sure that you are safe and secure while using a mobile device, try following these handy tips:

Be cautious using WiFi hotspots: Using free WiFi hotspots may expose you to hackers and identity theft. Tech-savvy thieves may be able to access data, activity and passwords on public WiFi connections. When making purchases or doing your banking wirelessly, make sure you are using a secure WiFi connection.

Only purchase apps from reputable app stores and dealers: Apps are a great way to access information, games and company websites. Make sure when you are downloading an app that you only download from reputable app stores to avoid installing malicious software onto your device. Also review the permissions required for installation. If the permission seems excessive for what the app is supposed to do it could be malicious.

Lock your devices: Most mobile devices, tablets and smartphones come with a locking system that allows users to set a password, PIN or pattern that protects access to the device. By password protecting your phone it allows your phone to be locked from unwanted access. It is a good idea to set your device to lock after a period of inactivity (set by you) so that if your device is lost or stolen, your information won’t be compromised. You can also enable your settings to wipe the phone of all data after a set number of unsuccessful password tries.

Report lost or stolen devices: If your device is lost or stolen, notify your wireless provider immediately so that they can deactivate your phone. Some providers will even be able to remotely wipe your device of data if you have not set your phone to do so already. Many carriers also offer a phone finder application that enables users to track the whereabouts of their phone if it is lost or stolen.

Beware of “shoulder surfing”: Since mobile devices are carried everywhere these days, you may be conducting or viewing confidential business or transactions in very public places. Beware of people standing over your shoulder viewing everything that you are doing on your device. Shield your screen from others as you would when inputting your PIN at a payment terminal or ABM.

Consider security software for your device: Many devices have security software built in or it can be purchased from security companies. To protect yourself, keep mobile device software up to date and install all security patches and software updates.  Make sure you install the software for each user on your device.

Keep Bluetooth in hidden mode: If you have a Bluetooth, make sure the connectivity option is set hidden mode rather than discoverable mode. Hackers can take advantage of the default always-on and always discoverable settings.

Beware of Smishing scams: If you received a suspicious looking text or email that asks you to confirm personal information or declares you have won a prize, do not click on the link or reply. This could be a smishing scam, where legitimate looking messages are sent to your mobile device by criminals looking for personal or financial information. Your bank will never ask you for sensitive information this way. Delete the text or email and never hesitate to contact your bank if you are unsure if the message is legitimate.

A few more suggestions:

  • Check your wireless statements for any suspicious charges.
  • Back-up the information you have stored on your mobile device to a computer or portable hard drive.
  • Avoid publishing your wireless number to prevent unwanted and malicious SMS messages.
  • Do not jailbreak or otherwise circumvent security features of the mobile device. They are there for your protection.
  • Delete all personal data from the mobile device before discarding it.

For more fraud prevention tips from the Canadian Bankers Association please visit the Fraud and Security section of the Canadian Bankers Association website.


Contact WPCU

300 William Avenue

Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3A 1P9

Open Monday through Friday,

9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Phone: 204.944.1033

Fax: 204.949.0821

Toll Free: 1.866.491.7122

Email: info@wpcu.ca

Lost or stolen MasterCard: 1-800-567-8111

1-204-944-1033 during business hours

1-877-764-3693 Canada & USA after hours

1-905-764-3693 Internationally after hours

Please click here to view more information regarding our Hot Card Service.

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