When you think of a hacker, you may picture an expert programmer who can get around any security measure with ease. But modern fraudsters don’t need a degree in computer science to steal valuable financial information. For them, ruining someone’s life is as simple as buying credentials from a black-market source. It’s simple, it’s scary, and it could happen to anyone.
So, how is Interac, Canada’s leading payments brand, helping to protect you from these threats? We talked to Interac Chief Data Scientist Robert Fodor to find out.
Q: How does Interac work with other financial institutions to combat fraud?
RF: We have an industry-wide fraud strategy we built with financial institutions and the support of law enforcement. It follows the tenets of “design, protect, detect, response.” We represent the financial industry in the detect area, and this is where we mandate that all fraud must be reported to us as soon as it’s discovered.
That’s how we developed a view of all transactions and fraud across the entire industry. This consortium view of the data is a force multiplier in terms of fraud reduction. We’re doing a layer of protection that’s complementary and independent of financial institutions but orchestrated with them.
Q: What kind of security measures are in place when consumers send or receive money?
RF: One of the ways to commit fraud is to pretend to send money to an existing contact. With the Interac e-Transfer Autodeposit feature, Canadians can choose to receive money directly into their bank account, eliminating the need for a security question through a one-time registration. This registration binds your contact information, such as your email or phone number, to your bank account so fraudsters can’t pretend to send money to an existing contact. They’ll end up actually sending money to that account.
Q: How can consumers protect themselves from fraud before it happens?
RF: Listen to your gut. If you’re not expecting any money and a friend sends you money, you should be suspicious.Contact your friend to confirm the details and don’t click on links you weren’t expecting to receive.
Adopt long passphrases as your password and don’t use the same one for everything. If your email gets hacked, the perpetrator can get into your online banking account if you’re using the same password for both sites.
When sending a digital payment using a product like Interac e-Transfer, be smart when it comes to choosing security questions. Don’t use questions that are obvious and make sure you avoid questions anyone can answer.
And finally, reporting fraud is huge. Last year, we took down 4,400 phishing sites that had an Interac logo on it because people forwarded suspected text messages and emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.