Central Toronto Academy Grade 12 student Sarah Moniz is mindful of most things she posts on social media.
“I know everything doesn’t get deleted and a lot of stuff ends up in cyber space,” she said, on March 7, at the fourth annual ‘Don’tBFooled event organized by Toronto Police Service Financial Crimes to mark Fraud Prevention Month. “That stuff can be tracked down so you just have to be careful.”
Moniz is also aware of other negative impacts.
“When you apply to a post-secondary institution, they go to your social media sites and anything inappropriate there could prevent you from getting into the school of your choice,” she added.
Moniz and Grade 11 student Jarred Boivin were the event’s Master of Ceremonies.
“I don’t think students fully grasp the damage that bad postings can have on them,” he said. “Events like this bring awareness and are very helpful in getting the word out there that you have to be extremely careful of what you are posting.”
The Service teamed up with members of the Social Media Working Group and the Toronto District School Board, who hosted the event, aimed at enhancing public outreach on financial crime, scams and consumer protection issues.
“The objectives and key goals of this event are to increase awareness about online digital engagement surrounding social media, cyber-bullying and other activities that can put your reputation and your identity at risk,” said Superintendent Neil Corrigan, 14 Division unit commander. “It can negatively impact your life.
“I can’t stress enough that, when you post photos and videos on social media, they stay there forever. Please be mindful of that. There is no way of deleting it entirely. If you post compromising photos or videos of yourself, your reputation is at stake. It can potentially affect your employment and job opportunities.”
Detective Constable Warren Bulmer addressed issues surrounding Snapchat and Instagram.
“One of the things you have to be guarded against, when using mobile apps, is not so much the content that you are posting on purpose,” said Bulmer. “The things you are choosing to post are one issue, but the apps themselves do things that are sometimes beyond your control. So, it’s important for you to know, not just consciously, what it is you are doing, but to know a little bit about the applications, what they are doing that you really don’t have any control over.”
Students were encouraged to tweet questions and comments about online risks using the #DontBFooled hashtag on twitter.
March is Fraud Prevention Month.
As Canada’s largest urban centre and banking capital, Toronto is the main target of the scams, ranging from letters from purported wealthy Africans offering massive payments to get money out of their countries, to prize offers that involve calling a 1-900 number that ends up costing the consumer instead of resulting in collecting winnings.