Nearly one-third of Canadians a victim of financial fraud
(TORONTO, ON) – March is Fraud Prevention Month and Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada wants to help Canadians protect themselves and their hard-earned money and prevent fraud.
Although financial fraud may fall into the “it’ll never happen to me” category in the minds of some Canadians, the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada has news for us. The CPA recently released a survey that found nearly one-third of Canadians have been a victim of financial fraud in their life.
“It’s an astounding number,” says Jeff Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit. “People may forget that there are fraudsters out there, whose full-time job is separating you from your money – and they don’t care who you are or where you’re from.”
Other findings from the survey include:
- Those victimized reported credit card fraud as the most common type (67 per cent), followed by debit card fraud (29 per cent)
- Reports of Online fraud jumped from six per cent in 2014 to 16 per cent in 2015.
- Almost half (48 per cent) say they are uncomfortable making online purchases.
Despite concerns about online safety, more and more Canadians are embracing digital payment technology. Schwartz sees a disconnect between the online enthusiasm of Canadians and their safety fears.
“It’s like the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is clicking,” comments Schwartz. “We need to address our security fears and take action in our daily lives so that we can protect ourselves and our bank accounts from thieves.”
Schwartz and the team at Consolidated Credit recommend the following five tips that Canadians should put into place today:
- Use stronger passwords. Your password is the key to your castle, and you need to craft one that is worthy of its duty. Mix and combine letters, numbers, and special characters. Try to update it at least once every three months. If you use the same password for every account and never change it, it’s like creating a master key for thieves.
- Lock your mobile devices. If your password is the key to your castle, your mobile device is like the extra key hidden under the door mat. Many of us have valuable information stored on our devices, along with bookmarked, password-stored access to bank accounts and shopping profiles. Protect your device with a password of its own.
- Use secure websites. Only enter your credit card information on trusted sites. Don’t click suspicious links in e-mails that take you to pages that may just be mimicking the official site. Look for the padlock icon in the URL bar, along with an extra “S” in the URL (as in https://www…).
- Check your credit profile. Keep a regular eye on your profile through credit bureaus Equifax and TransUnion and report any discrepancies immediately. You can request a free copy of your credit report, or sign up for ongoing credit file monitoring.
- Employ the sniff test. If something looks too good to be true, it probably is. Be vigilant. Whether it’s a free cruise or a billionaire heir in Uganda, never give out your credit card number unless you’re completely confident.
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:
Jacob MacDonald, Public Relations Coordinator, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc., T: 416-915-7283 ext.1041, C: 647-390-5253, F: 416-915-5200, E: firstname.lastname@example.org