Valley First

One-third of B.C. residents indifferent to fraud headlines

Survey reveals gaps and opportunities in personal cyber security practices

March 20, 2017

Penticton, B.C. – A whopping 33.5 per cent of B.C. residents feel indifference when they read about fraud in the news, finds a survey conducted by Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union.

“While it’s heartening to discover nearly half of respondents feel outrage when they hear about fraud, it’s that apathetic one-third we need to get the cyber security message to because their indifference is putting them at risk,” says Ryan Smith, cyber security expert with Valley First.

In honour of Fraud Prevention Month, Valley First polled 500 B.C. residents via Google Consumer Survey about their cyber security and fraud prevention attitudes and practices. The results reveal gaps and opportunities for protection and detection.

“While people might think they are powerless to fight cybercrime, that’s simply not true,” says Smith.

Smith recommends three simple, easy to implement strategies to protecting yourself, the first of which is installing antivirus software on your computer/devises and performing regular updates.

The survey found nearly 40 per cent of respondents either didn’t have or weren’t sure they had this protection. “Auto-updates for antivirus protection software and system upgrades reduces your risk considerably,” says Smith.

Smith’s second tip is to only check your accounts and make purchases on a secure, legitimate Wi-Fi network. Thirty-four per cent of survey respondents admitted to logging into their email, social or financial accounts on public Wi-Fi.

“The Wi-Fi at the coffee shop or hotel does not count as secure,” says Smith. “It’s far too easy for a hacker to set up a fake wireless access point that looks like the real thing and steal the credentials of everyone who uses it.”

Speaking of credentials, password protection is one of the easier ways to keep criminals out of your accounts. Twenty-five per cent of respondents to Valley First’s fraud survey either don’t remember the last time they changed their passwords or have never changed them, which is significant. While it’s heartening that 41.8 per cent of survey respondents change their passwords every year, Smith advises doing it more frequently.

“Don’t have a ‘set it and forget it’ approach to passwords,” says Smith. “I reset my passwords every six months and I recommend using different passwords for every account you have.”

Remembering that many passwords can be difficult, so Smith’s solution is downloading a password management app with two factor authentication,” he says. “It’s secure and two-factor authentication also offers that extra level of protection so you can use that hotel Wi-Fi without fear of being hacked.”

About Valley First

Valley First is a premier provider of banking, investment and insurance services for residents and businesses in the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. As a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.'s third-largest credit union with 54 branches and 38 insurance offices throughout the province, Valley First brings innovative products, an extensive branch network and local decision making to the banking experience. For more information on Valley First, visit www.valleyfirst.com.

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