October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is shedding some light on how to spot an online scam.

Wes Lafortune is the Media and Communications Specialist for the BBB and he says that while a scam can be disguised in a multitude of forms, there are two key things that fraudsters are looking for.

"Scammers are after primarily two things, they're after your money or they're after your personal information," explains Lafortune. "They're after your personal information so they can access your money. So that's the ultimate goal for almost all scammers."

He says that anyone can fall victim to fraud and you should be wary when it comes to sharing any personal information online.

He said that staying safe online means taking precautions such as:

  • Change passwords regularly
  • Be creative with passwords
  • When possible, use two-factor authentication 
  • Don't post personal information online
  • Don't use the same password across the board

It's likely that you or someone you know has been contacted by someone claiming to work for the Canada Revenue Agency. Lafortune says that this scam has been around for a while, and it's important not to be threatened into sharing personal information.

"They're [The CRA] not going to threaten to send you to jail," explains Lafortune  "If you think it's a scammer, don't engage with them, don't get involved in the conversation. Just hang up."

The vast majority of people engage in a number of online services regularly, making it hard to keep those passwords straight.

Lafortune offers some tips to safely secure your passwords.

"Many people write it down in a book, they put it in a very secure place. That might be a locked cabinet or somewhere that you feel is secure that other people can't easily access," says Lafortune  "Beyond that, there are commercial programs available that will allow you to change your password for you."

The Better Business Bureau has also stated that it is common for people to fall victim to scams during unprecedented times like these; they say it is important to do your homework and to know the dangers associated with unsolicited text messages and social media.