Kingston Police: Analyze your online presence often to avoid scams

Photo by John Schnobrich.

Kingston Police are advising the public to be aware of how much they share online, noting that cybercriminals can tailor phishing attacks to appear legitimate and specific to individuals.

“With the internet and social media as a part of our everyday lives, it can be difficult to avoid sharing personal information online,” police said in a media release. “Having an online presence can be valuable, but sometimes sharing personal information is risky. If you want to know what information about you is online, Google yourself.”

Police provided the following information in the release:

Your search results

If you Google your name, you may find public information about yourself that you didn’t expect to see, such as your phone number, email address, or home address. Some information is available online through government agencies, while other information is posted by data brokers. Data brokers are organizations that collect and sell information.

Cybercriminals’ scams

Cybercriminals can use your public information in phishing attacks to try and scam you. They often use specific details to make their phishing attacks appear more legitimate. For example, if your home address is publicly available online, cybercriminals can use it in delivery scams. For these scams, cybercriminals will send you a phishing email about a package delivery. This email will prompt you to click a link that appears legitimate but is actually malicious.

What can I do to stay safe?

Follow the tips below to stay safe online:

  • Be careful about what you post online. Cybercriminals could use this information in a phishing attack.
  • Analyze your online presence often and remove information that you don’t want cybercriminals to know.
  • Many websites have security options that can easily be overlooked. Review and edit your privacy settings to protect your information.

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