Avoid Fraud with these Four Online Gaming Tips

Canadians are spending more time online and seniors are no exception, with Public Safety Canada citing that approximately 70 percent go online every day. The internet has become a popular source of entertainment and, according to Stats Canada, playing games is the second-most popular online leisure activity among older adults.

While online gaming can be a fun way to pass time or connect with others, it’s important to remember that games could be a facade for malicious software that can collect personal information for financial gain.

“Just like you would take precautions to protect a home from criminals, you should be thinking about protecting yourself the same way when gaming online,” says Mark Matz, Director of Policy and Issues Management with the National Cyber Security Directorate at Public Safety Canada. “Be sure that a gaming website is reputable and legitimate before you play.”

Here are a few tips from Public Safety Canada on how you can avoid online fraud so you can safely focus on getting to the next level of your favourite game:

  1. It can be difficult to tell if a gaming website or download is actually an infected file. Installing a firewall, anti-spyware and anti-virus software will help keep your computer safe when playing games online and offline. When installing a new game, it’s good practice to make sure you set up automatic updates so you always have the latest version to help protect against hackers.

  2. Cyber criminals are good at making their scams look legitimate. Remember, if you’re not sure what something is, don’t click on it, even if it looks interesting. Bad grammar and misspelled words in a website’s address or its web page is one sign of a scam. Another is receiving a pop-up saying you’ve won something, even though you haven’t entered a contest.

  3. It’s important not to share any information that may make you a target to cyber criminals. Make sure you don’t use your full name or any words that give clues to your location or age. You should not give out any personal information, even your email, while chatting with strangers on gaming websites. It’s also best to set your profiles to private. You should only be connecting and sharing with people you know in real life.

  4. For people who didn’t grow up with the internet, it can be difficult to navigate all the pop-ups and flashy offers. If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Be especially cautious of contests that pop up suddenly, and that if you can’t validate the contest with a link to a trusted website, you should ignore it. And remember that in Canada there is no such thing as taxes or fees to receive a legitimate prize. Anyone asking for money online should be reported.

In addition, more older adults are entering the online dating world. Learn more about how to protect yourself.

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