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October is Cyber Security Awareness Month: Go Incognito:
Before sharing Personal Information (PI) - ask who, what and why

Learn about security and privacy when engaging in social media and social networking activities.

Have you ever:
  1. Clicked on an advertisement on your favorite social media site?
  2. Given your name with your address and/or phone number to clerk at a retail store without knowing why they wanted it?
  3. Responded to a text message from someone you don’t know?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then read on for tips on how to prevent sharing your personal information with the wrong people.  

The internet is fun and social media sites have contributed to an increase in the number of people using the internet. New services appear daily to compete for your time and attention.

Most people only see what is on their screen and don’t understand the technology behind the sites and web applications. Without knowing how the systems work behind the scenes, many people have an incomplete understanding of how their information is collected and used.

Most of the time, your information is collected and used for legitimate reasons. However, there are fraudsters who are looking to exploit your online information for their own gain.


Much of our lives happen online. We bank, shop, share photos and stories and communicate online at lightening speeds. It’s more critical, now than ever, that our customers and employees take time to reflect on online safety. We all have a personal stake in ensuring our personal information is safe. I urge you to always exercise caution with the information you reveal on social websites, email, text messages, and all other electronic communications. Fraudsters take advantage of our identity and our possessions when we aren’t diligent. Prior to sharing any personal details, ensure you understand what your information is being used for.

Before sharing personal information ….always ask who, what and why.

 – Cheryl Davidson, Chief Privacy Officer


Fraudsters use various tools including scams and malware to enable them to steal money, information and identities. Various reputable cyber-security agencies and researchers recognize that in 2013, hackers and cyber criminals have made their top gains from exploiting social media, networks and the human trust factor in online interactions.

“Don't Click that button” - Watch the video


What are these fraudsters after?
They want to impersonate you to:

  1. Access your bank accounts
  2. Claim your possessions as theirs
  3. Hide their own identity and act under yours

How do they do it?

  1. Use your social media messages (status updates, image captions, unsecured messages to friends) to obtain any information they can later use to impersonate you
  2. Send you text messages containing links to dangerous sites or asking you to phone them
  3. Send you phishing emails
  4. Use many common scams



What is RBC doing to fight fraudsters?
RBC has made the technology investment and assigned highly skilled resources to keep our employees and our clients’ information safe.

Companies go to great lengths to protect their customers’ and employees’ information. The safeguards we have in place cover your information after you have shared it online and we take that responsibility very seriously. Partner with us this October and make it your responsibility to protect yourself and your information online. Avoid clicking links that you have not verified. Do not respond to spam email or text messages and report it. Be in control of how much information you share about yourself and with whom.

– Paul Gerics, Vice President Information Security & Chief Information Security Officer


At work, we rely on policies and procedures and a team of professionals who make sure that there are safeguards, making our online surfing safe.

Fraudsters know that we leave behind the “rule book” when we leave the office.  They know you are most vulnerable when you are speaking with friends and family on social networks. These are places where you are most relaxed because you are among trusted friends. You forget to verify the websites or online communications you access. These are the moments when fraudsters set traps for you with fake website links and sensational topics and they appeal to our sense of doing good.

Fraudsters are often convincing enough to fool your friends and family, whose contact information they can find in your communications or accounts. The criminals will attempt to win their trust as well to gain access to their information.

What can you do to fight fraudsters and keep your information safe?
Before sharing any more personal information than necessary, ask yourself:

  • Are you sure you can trust this person?
  • Who, what and why is my information needed?
  • Review these quick tips and use it as a reference for online activities.

Quick Tips


Never reveal your social insurance number or social security number, date of birth (DOB), passport number, PINs, passwords, bank account numbers, driver’s license in an email, text or online because they can be used by a cyber criminal to take on your identity.
REMEMBER the Internet has a permanent memory. Messages and information shared online with friends will linger for the next 15-20 years or longer. CHECK the privacy settings of your browser and the Privacy Policy of each networking site you use to find out who owns what you are posting (including photos).
Never use the same password for all your accounts or even for another account. If one of your accounts gets breached, that’s the only one that is compromised.  You won’t have to worry about important information in your other accounts being at risk.
Always use a unique password for every single online bank account you have and keep them secret.
If a deal online is too good to be true: e-walk away (don’t act, don’t click).
Don’t forget that confidential work information should never be stored on your personal devices or sent to your home email – if your email or home computers are hacked into, you are putting more people at risk than just yourself.
Go incognito online: you have probably seen this icon appearing sometimes when you browse. Some privacy conscious search engines and browsers offer you the ability to browse with no trail, no history and cookies deleted. But remember: private browsing, which allows you to do searches online without being tracked or “observed”, does not prevent your device from picking up viruses and malware.

Consult reputable sources about being safe online and protecting your privacy such as government official websites, your country’s Privacy Commissioner or equivalent websites. For example, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Their advice is: “Limit the information you give out about yourself, and question the collection and use of your personal information by others.”

Print and refer often to this mini rule-book. Let it be your guide on the best habits to keeping your personal information safe at work and home.