The Interac Fraud Prevention Index shows Canadians need to improve their fraud literacy
Toronto, March 2, 2020 – The fraud landscape is transforming and Canadians across the country are facing scam attempts at every turn. While many Canadians recognize the various ways fraudsters can strike, 62 per cent say they are concerned about it more than ever before, according to a new study from Interac Corp.
The Interac Fraud Prevention Index provides a nuanced picture of the kinds of fraud that are keeping Canadians up at night, highlighting the evolving sophistication of techniques used against consumers across multiple channels of communication. From romance scams, identity theft, telephone fraud, text messages and via public wireless networks, fraud has become more pervasive and Canadians can be inundated by numerous types of scam attempts in their daily lives.
“Our study shows that Canadians are being targeted non-stop through a wide range of channels – phone, email, text and social media,” said Rachel Jolicoeur, Director, Fraud Prevention & Partnerships at Interac Corp. “Nearly half of Canadians or their families (48 per cent) report falling victim to fraud, emphasizing the importance of Canadians to stop, scrutinize and speak up to avoid scams.”
According to the Index, the most commonly-reported scams nationally include fraudulent emails (45 per cent) and phone scams (44 per cent). Text message fraud is most prevalent in Quebec (44 per cent) and least prevalent in Atlantic Canada (19 per cent). In major cities, Montrealers were most likely to have experienced identity theft (16 per cent) as compared with Torontonians (8 per cent) or Vancouverites (9 per cent).
The Interac Fraud Prevention Index drew on responses from over 2,200 Canadians and demonstrates that, despite high levels of confidence in their ability to spot fraud (71 per cent), many have engaged in risky behaviours:
- Nearly two in five Canadians have clicked a link from an unknown source (36 per cent). Regionally, Atlantic Canadians are the most likely to have done so (47 per cent) compared to Quebecers who are the least likely (27 per cent).
- A third of Canadians have accessed online banking on a public WiFi network (33 per cent). Provincially, Albertans are the least likely (24 per cent) to have done this.
- Half of Canadians (52 per cent) do not change their online banking or email password regularly, doing so only if prompted, every few years or never at all.
- Torontonians and Vancouverites are most likely to have provided personal information over the phone when their call could be overheard by others (26 per cent) compared to Montrealers (17 per cent).
- Montrealers are less likely than Vancouverites and Torontonians to see buying and selling on online marketplaces as a high-risk activity (48 percent, 59 per cent and 55 per cent respectively).
- Millennials are more likely to see social media as a credible source of fraud education (28 per cent).
Further demonstrating the need for increased fraud literacy, seven in 10 Canadians (71 per cent) agree they want to know more about protecting themselves from fraud. With the right prevention strategies, it is possible for individuals to arm themselves against the threat of fraud.
In recognition of Fraud Prevention Month, Interac Corp., in collaboration with law enforcement authorities across Canada, has compiled the following tips:
Take a moment to stop, think and follow your instincts
Whether it’s a money transfer you weren’t expecting, or an email asking for your personal information, you should be on the alert. Don’t feel pressured into taking action – a trusted organization will never rush you to respond right away.
Assess the situation and look for the telltale signs of a scam
Becoming aware of the techniques fraudsters frequently use could be your best defense. Make use of online resources including the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre to stay up to date on scams and how to spot them. For example, phishing emails often contain a sender’s email address that does not match the website of the organization it says it’s from.
Confirm the validity and report any concerns
If you suspect fraud, contact the sender of the communication through a different channel. If you’ve already provided sensitive information to a fraudster, you should immediately contact your bank or financial service provider through the number listed on their website or on the back of your payment card and report to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
Interac has built tools and technologies into every product to help keep you safe from fraud. For more information about Interac security, please visit www.newsroom.interac.ca
About the Interac Fraud Prevention Index Survey
Hill+Knowlton Strategies conducted an online survey with 2,259 Canadians in February 2020 to explore national and regional consumer experiences, perceptions and behaviours pertaining to fraud. The survey sample is weighted to allow for age, gender, and provincial comparisons as well as comparisons between Toronto, Montréal, and Vancouver.
About Interac Corp.
Interac Corp. operates an economical, world-class debit payments system with broad-based acceptance, reliability, security, and efficiency. The organization is one of Canada’s leading payments brands and is chosen an average of 16 million times daily to pay and exchange money. For more than 30 years, Interac Corp. and its predecessors, Interac Association and Acxsys Corporation, have facilitated secure financial transactions through the development of innovative and convenient debit and money transfer solutions. A leader in the prevention and detection of fraud, the organization has one of the lowest rates of fraud globally. Visit newsroom.interac.ca or follow @INTERAC on Twitter. Interac Corp. has a diverse group of shareholders that includes banks, credit unions, caisses populaires, payment processors and merchants.
Interac is a registered trade-mark of Interac Corp.
Tips and guidelines stated above are for informational purposes only and are not to be treated, or relied upon, as legal advice or opinion. Canadians should check directly with their financial institution for their specific process on how to report suspected fraud.