According to a recent TD Fraud survey, nearly one-in-three Canadians report having been personally victimized by financial fraud, with most individuals (83%) losing up to $5,000.
Nearly six in 10 (59%) of survey respondents claim to be confident in their own ability to keep their finances protected from fraudsters, but worry that older family members lack the same fraud savviness. Despite these concerns, less than half (45%) of respondents reported having had a conversation with their older family members about financial fraud.
"Fraud doesn't discriminate - attacks can happen to anyone, through any channel, including phone, text and e-mail, at any time," says Tammy McKinnon, Head of Financial Crimes and Fraud Management Group, TD Bank Group. "As scams continue to evolve, it's important that we encourage conversations that increase Canadians' knowledge and understanding of financial fraud, and help equip our loved ones with the right information to prevent it from happening."
When asked what concerned them most about financial fraud, nearly half of seniors (45%) responded that their biggest worry was becoming a victim of identity theft. In contrast, millennials shared that having their money stolen was their top concern (39%).
Though financial fraud attacks are becoming more sophisticated, the good news is that over two-thirds (69%) of Canadians are actively taking measures to protect themselves and are adopting digital tools to combat technology-based frauds. Measures taken include reviewing bank account statements often (79%); not sharing passwords or PINs with anyone (79%); not clicking on links, calling unknown phone numbers, or taking any requested action for personal or financial information until they have verified it comes from a legitimate source (73%), signing up for text message fraud alerts from their bank (41%); andenabling two-factor authentication for added security (40%).
Despite taking these steps to protect themselves, the survey found that four in 10 Canadians (41%) are still committing fraud faux-pas, such as writing their passwords down in a notebook or storing them on their phone.
"Our survey found that only a fraction (18 per cent) of Canadians consider themselves very savvy when it comes to being able to identify and detect financial fraud," says McKinnon. "Fraud Prevention Month offers a good opportunity to arm Canadians with information, and reinforce resources to help them feel confident in spotting, avoiding, and reporting financial fraud."
TD offers additional tips for Canadians to protect themselves and their loved ones from falling victim to fraud.
- Pay attention to fraud alerts from banks, which are now using text messaging to communicate with their customers, and notify them if suspicious activity is detected with their personal accounts.
- Have conversations with family and friends, especially seniors, who are increasingly being targeted by financial fraudsters. Help protect family members by educating them on the most common scams, such as emergency scams that attempt to coerce grandparents into sending money to their grandchild in a foreign country, or romance scams that use legitimate dating websites to extort money from someone looking for companionship.
- Protect your PIN - do not give it to anyone, not even your bank.
- Be cautious and verify if a request is real. If you receive an email from a relative asking for funds because they're in trouble overseas, or if you receive an unexpected and too-good-to-be-true cheque, chances are it's fraud. Take some time to do a little research to verify if it's real.
- Check your statements, online accounts ,or banking apps regularly for any potentially fraudulent transactions so you can notify your bank or credit card company more quickly if they haven't detected it themselves.
- TD Bank Group commissioned Environics Research Group to conduct a national online survey of 1,432 Canadians aged 18 years and older. Responses were collected between February 1-6, 2019.