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Dennis Popkes, 76, was defrauded of nearly $11,000 last year after hackers broke into his MyMTS email account.
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Retired Winnipegger Dennis Popkes is asking people with MyMTS email accounts to take more precautions after being scammed out of nearly $11,000.
< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Last December, Dennis Popkes, 76, realized that neither his cell phone nor his email address worked. He then contacted Bell MTS technical support.
I was told that someone had accessed my account and changed my security responses , he says.
He later learned that he had been the victim of SIM card theft fraud without his consent. It is identity fraud where an ill-intentioned person obtains, by pretending to be someone else, a new SIM card from a telephone operator.
Once Mr. Popkes' email address was compromised, the hackers were able to access his bank accounts and credit cards, among other things.
The retiree explains that they had spent $10,770, an amount which was ultimately reimbursed to him by his financial institutions.
A Winnipeg police detective obtained court authorization to try to find out who hacked Mr. Popkes' accounts.
The latter filed a sworn affidavit in which he explains that he investigated more than 20 fraud cases in which the victim's MyMTS messaging service was the point of entry.
MyMTS email accounts have weaker security features making it easy for suspects to compromise them, making it easier to access bank accounts and cell phones, the inspector says in the document filed with the court.
Over the past five years, the Winnipeg Police Service's Financial Crimes Unit has investigated more than 5,000 cases of fraud and of cyber fraud.
Police would not say how many of these investigations involved victims whose financial accounts had been compromised through their MyMTS email account.
A Bell MTS spokesperson said the company had upgraded its security features after being informed of the alleged fraud by Winnipeg police , last December.
Bell MTS, however, did not want to specify the number of cases of which it is aware where MyMTS email accounts have been compromised. p>
Cybersecurity expert Adam Krieger says the best advice he can give to consumers is to choose a strong password that is made up of letters, numbers and symbols.
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According to cybersecurity expert Adam Krieger, whatever email service provider you use is the best thing to do To protect yourself is to use a strong password, made up of letters, numbers and characters.
He also suggests that they avoid using personal details such as a date of birth or initials.
In today's world of social media, these kinds of details are very easy to obtain, says Krieger. This may represent a vulnerability and an entry point into the system.
He says he does not know if the MyMTS emails are more vulnerable to hacking, but that cybersecurity is everyone's responsibility.
Companies are responsible for implementing security standards, checking their own services, vulnerabilities and updates, correcting these vulnerabilities and providing their customers with security features, he says.
With information from Caroline Barghout