As Canadians continue to embrace technology and allow it to impact their everyday lives, they’re leaving themselves exposed to the possibility of financial fraud. They recognize and are concerned about the threat — but that doesn’t mean they’re protecting themselves properly.
In a recent fraud survey, TD Bank found nearly one in three Canadians who have been personally victimized by financial fraud. Among that group, 83% said they lost up to $5,000. Between that statistic and all the other media coverage of scams and schemes that parted people from their money, a rising number of Canadians are getting concerned about staying safe.
Almost six out of 10 survey respondents (59%) said they were confident that they could keep their finances out of the hands of fraudsters, but were less sure when it comes to their loved ones. Despite that, less than half (45%) of respondents said they have 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 email, at any time,” said 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.”
The son of a deceased Ontario senior learned that the hard way when he discovered that his father had been victimized in a romance scam. As reported by CBC News in January, the deceased had gone to his local bank almost 20 times over an eight-month period, wiring a total of more than $732,000 to a fictitious woman in Malaysia whom he had met on an online dating site. Employees at the bank conceded to his repeated requests to wire a large sum out of the country since he consistently told the same story — an explanation he had been coached to repeat — each time.
When asked to name their biggest financial-fraud concerns, 45% of seniors responding to the TD survey said they were most worried about identity theft. In contrast, millennials cited having their money stolen (39%) as their top concern.
On the bright side, over two-thirds (69%) of Canadians reported that they are actively working to protect themselves and adopting digital tools against tech-based fraud. These measures include:
- Frequent reviews of bank account statements (79%);
- Not sharing passwords or PINs with anyone (79%);
- Not clicking on strange links, calling unknown phone numbers, or taking any request for personal or financial information before verifying that it’s from a legitimate source (73%);
- Signing up for text message fraud alerts from their bank (41%); and
- Enabling two-factor authentication for added security
Still, the survey found 41% of Canadians are committing other fraud faux-pas like writing their passwords in a notebook or storing them on their phone. In addition, McKinnon said, only 18% considered themselves very savvy when it comes to identifying and detecting financial fraud.
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