Internet users are being urged by police and online techies to secure their personal information Wednesday, as the first of the month has been declared Change Your Password Day.

Gizmodo, a technology blog, is pushing for people everywhere to swap their privacy codes for new ones due to the risk of online security breaches, and B.C. RCMP are backing the call.

"Cybercrime can be devastating for victims, but it is really a hard crime for police to investigate and for courts to prosecute," Coquitlam RCMP Cpl. Jamie Chung said in a release. "This is an area where prevention is really the way to go."

Fourteen Canadians are targeted by online criminals every minute and in 2010 7.3-million Canadian Internet users reported being victims of cybercrime, according to the 2011 Norton Cybercrime Report.

The report estimated these crimes directly lost victims $840 million and caused an additional loss of $4.7 billion for productivity.

The Gizmodo website warned that hackers only need and email account and a mother's maiden name or a person's hometown to break into a bank account -- information that is available on many people's Facebook profiles.

To reduce your risk of being hacked, police recommend the following:

  • do not share any of your passwords with anyone
  • change your passwords regularly, including ones for cell phones
  • only access password-protected websites from your personal computer
  • build strong passwords

If you are hacked, RCMP advise you change all your passwords immediately, notify your service provider and call the police.