It’s Data Privacy Day – Is your personal information safe?


    BBB cyber security awareness

    BBB helps buyers and sellers secure sensitive information

    Today is International Data Privacy Day, and with data breaches costing Canadians an average of $250 per capita in 2015, BBB is here to help businesses and consumers protect their personal information.

    “It is crucial to remember that with the advancements of today’s technology also come safety concerns,” says Sandra Crozier-McKee, president and CEO of BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kooteany. “Prevention and consistency is key to keeping sensitive information secure and to practice cyber security regularly.”

    If you do anything online, be it surf the net or shop, your information is at risk. Names, addresses, emails, credit card, and banking information could be taken by swindling scammers out to steal your identity for their own criminal purposes.

    Take a look at some of the biggest data breaches in history:

    Sony Pictures Entertainment: In 2014, a data breach leaked nearly 50,000 social security numbers, salary details, and other personal information from current and former workers.

    Target: In 2013, 70 million debit and credit card numbers were stolen throughout the U.S. and Canada.

    Home Depot: In 2014, as many as 56 million North American card-holders were been exposed to potential fraud due to a data breach.

    So, how do consumers protect themselves?

    Check PIN pads: Look to see if credit card pin pads are secured to the cash desk. Also check for bulky add-ons to the terminal that could be a card skimming device.

    Check URLS: When online shopping, hover your mouse over the URL to indicate the true website destination. Also look for a padlock icon and “https” to indicate a secure site.

    Look at your statements: Keep up with your credit card and bank statements. The sooner you notice and report any suspicious charges, the easier it is to rectify the situation with your bank.

    Change passwords often: This means any online account with personal login information should have different, complex passwords that are changed regularly to keep hackers at bay.

    Spot the signs of phishing emails. Know the difference between a legitimate email and one phishing for information. Phony emails usually have poor grammar and spelling, fake logos or images, and suspicious links or attachments loaded with malware. Remember, legitimate businesses will not ask for personal or financial information via email.

    Here’s how business owners can protect their companies:

    Hire an IT Security provider

    Keep current with security software. Install firewalls and regularly update antivirus software.

    Know who has access to sensitive information. Limit the number of employees who have access to personal information. Make sure employees know the guidelines for handling such information.

    Have a crisis communications plan. Create a notification policy for customers should a breach occur and plan out key messages for media along with actions to be taken following a data breach.

    Be transparent. Make sure your customers understand upfront your policies for the handling of personal information.

    Only collect what you need. Don’t collect information your company does not need. Thieves can’t steal what you don’t have

    About Data Privacy Day

    Data Privacy Day began in the United States and Canada in 2008 as an extension of the Data Protection Day celebration in Europe. Data Protection Day commemorates the January 28, 1981 signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection.

    For more information, check out the National Cyber Security Alliance.

    For tips you can trust, visit:  


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