Having a basic knowledge of online safety, so that you can continue to use the internet without concerns, and safeguard yourself, your family, your workplace and your online devices, is important. There are lots of little things you can do to stay safe online:

Keep Your Passwords Strong

Always use strong passwords or passphrases.

What are strong passwords?

  • Minimum, 12 characters of upper- and lower-case letters, with a mix of numbers and symbols.
  • The shorter it is, the easier to hack into your account.

What are strong passphrases?

  • Minimum 15 characters of unique words put together. An easy way to create a passphrase is to use associations, e.g. “dogdaycarerunfun
  • Recommended: use passphrases! Easier to remember and harder to hack.

Use unique passwords for everything.

  • Too many passwords? Try a Password Manager.
  • Enable two-factor or multi-factor authentication.
  • Never share passwords with anyone, not even family members. There are plenty of scammers who pretend to be a family member or a representative from your bank in attempt to collect your personal information.

"Keep your devices protected"

  • The easiest and best way to protect your device is to regularly update your software. This makes your sensitive information and device less vulnerable to cyber threats.
  • Enable automatic updates to your operating systems. If this feature is not available, regularly check for software updates in device settings.

"Keep your private information private"

  • Be in control of your information. Customize private settings on your profiles to keep your account private.
  • Do not overshare. Avoid discussing personal or financial information online. You never know who might see it or use it.
  • Think twice before posting. Once a post is uploaded, that information may remain online forever.
  • Do not access sensitive data while connected to public Wi-Fi.


Personal information and social media

Never reveal too much personal or financial information in social networking posts/profiles; you never know who might see it, or use it.

  • Be careful with what you post online, keeping in mind that once it is posted, it will remain there forever.
  • Do not provide any personal information that could potentially attract someone to you. Never give out your address, personal phone numbers, personal photos that anyone could misuse.
  • Social Networks are increasingly used by fraudsters. Watch out for things like fake friend requests and YouTube links containing malware.
  • Remember people can pretend to be something that they are not and easily trick you into believing something that is false.
  • Always use private settings on all websites and apps you may be using. Make sure that you can approve who you befriend and who can see your online profiles and what you have posted.


How to protect yourself from email or text scam

Watch what you click. Do not click attachments or links from an unknown source

Watch what you provide. Never give out financial or personal information.

Watch how they contact you. Be on your guard against 'social engineering' scams, which include fraudulent emails, phone calls or texts designed to manipulate you into revealing your confidential banking details.


How to identify a potential scam

  • If you have been advised that you are the winner of a large prize for a draw you don’t recall entering.
  • Communications that you are late in a payment and services will be cut off or legal action will be taken.
  • Communications are not personalized and contain grammatical errors or spelling mistakes.

How to protect yourself from email or text scam

  • Do not click attachments or links from unknown sources.
  • Do not provide any financial or personal identifiable information in email or text.
  • Your bank, including BMO, will not request any personal information such as PIN number, account number, etc. from customers through email or text.