Newcomers to Canada highly vulnerable to financial fraud, need advice

Interac study reveals high level of fraud attempts as immigration soars to record high

Newcomers to Canada highly vulnerable to financial fraud, need advice
Steve Randall

With record numbers of people deciding to migrate to Canada, there is an opportunity for advisors to help them achieve their financial goals; but another group is also focusing on newcomers, fraudsters.

According to a survey from Interac, 70% of newcomers feel more vulnerable to financial fraud and scams than the general population and more than half say that they and/or a family member have been targeted with a similar share concerned that they will be.

Fake job adverts, phishing, and bogus ‘officials’ are the top scams aimed at those that are unfamiliar with their surroundings, but building resilience is a top priority.

Around three quarters of respondents want to gain knowledge of how to protect themselves against fraud and 83% value tools to help managing their spending.

Almost two thirds of newcomers say they prefer to spend their own money instead of borrowing, with this emerging as the top strategy for boosting their financial confidence, followed by sticking to a budget (55%) and having savings or investment goals (60%).

“Being targeted for financial scams is an all-too-common experience for newcomers. We all have a role to play in providing advice to help build their financial literacy and spot scams before it’s too late,” said Rachel Jolicoeur, Director, Cybermarket Intelligence and Financial Crime at Interac. “Newcomers want to feel in control and most prefer to spend their own money versus borrowing.”

Free program

Interac and Conscious Economics have launched a free learning program for newcomers and international students to help them gain fraud protection techniques and financial literacy. The program will also be part of the orientation package for international students at Toronto Metropolitan University.

“As more newcomers choose Canada as their educational destination, it’s imperative that they have the supports to set themselves up with healthy financial habits. Mindfulness & Money for Newcomers and International Students will be critical to the new student experience as it will help them navigate their finances in a new setting and feel confident doing so,” said Dr. Mohamed Lachemi, President, and Vice-chancellor of TMU. “We are proud to be the first university to include these modules in the supports offered to our international students, so that they can hone skills to carry with them throughout their lives.”