Thirty-three per cent of Canadians have been a victim of financial fraud
TORONTO, ONTARIO, March 08, 2017 – Financial fraud was once a simple concept. All a consumer had to worry about was being duped by a door to door salesman – now fraud has evolved into a billion dollar industry with the ultimate goal of stealing the identity and credit of unsuspecting Canadians.
Fraud is big business and the majority of Canadians recognize this troubling new reality. A new survey by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada revealed 75 per cent of Canadians are more concerned about financial fraud now than they were five years ago. And many Canadians are keeping fraud top of mind. A recent survey by TD Bank revealed 85 per cent of Canadians are worried about being a victim of fraud and 37 per cent expressed concerns their elderly relatives and kids may become victims of fraud too. The reality is fraudsters are more sophisticated with their approach now than ever before. Now victims of fraud have way more to lose – their whole identity and way of life. The CPA survey also discovered:
- Thirty-three per cent of respondents say they have been a victim of financial fraud
- Seventeen per cent of Canadians have corresponded with someone who had lied about their true identity via social media or email
- Fourteen per cent revealed someone hacked into one of their email accounts
- Eight per cent confessed one of their social media accounts were hacked
“I know many Canadians may be thinking, they can never be a victim of fraud however if you had an opportunity to speak to any of the victims of a fraud-related crime – they would have said the same thing,” Jeffrey Schwartz, executive director, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada.
“Fraud can happen to anyone at any time. The reality is fraudsters do not care who their victims are. This is why consumers have to be vigilant by protecting their identity, data and personal finances,” says Schwartz.
Given fraudsters can strike at any time, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada recommend the following tips for fraud prevention month in an effort to help Canadians avoid from being a victim to any form of financial fraud:
Get a better lock
Think of your password as the gate keeper to your life. So make it hard enough to foil the attempts of fraudsters to hack you. Consider making passwords with a combination of letters, numbers and special characters. Avoid using birthdays and easy passwords like: 12345678 or “password.” You can be extra secure by refraining from using the same password for all of your password protected accounts. If you use the same password for all of your accounts – that’s like giving opportunistic thieves a master key to your life – don’t do it.
Lock your mobile devices
If your password is the master key to your life, consider your mobile device as that extra key you keep in your garage or under your front door mat. If you leave it open to fraudsters – you’re creating another door way into your life which will leave you vulnerable to financial or identity fraud. The reality is many of us keep valuable information on our cell phones – anything from bank statements to our credit card information. So get in the habit of password protecting your phone. Your finances will thank you!
When in doubt, back out
Canadians love to shop online. If you love buying things online – it’s important to only use secure websites. If you think you are being targeted by a phony phishing email campaign – delete the email immediately and report it to the appropriate authorities. For example, if you get an email from your financial institution asking you for your credit card – chances are it’s a fake phishing email. When in doubt, back out of a suspicious situation and protect your identity and finances.
Keep an eye out
Fraudsters can wreak havoc on your finances. The fastest way to catch any fraudulent activities to your credit is keeping an eye out by checking your credit history and activity. You can contact either Equifax or TransUnion for a free copy of your credit report. If you recognize any suspicious activities on your credit report – don’t ignore it hoping it will go away – contact your credit card company right away.
About Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc.:
Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada is a national non-profit credit counselling organization that teaches consumers about personal finance.
For more information or to request an interview with Jeffrey Schwartz, please contact:
Natasha Carr, Community and Public Relations Manager,
Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc.,
T: 416-915-7283 ext.1041, C: 416-830-4720, F: 416-915-5200, E: [email protected]