Credit to Author: Canadian Immigrant| Date: Thu, 05 Mar 2020 16:51:39 +0000
Did you know that March is Fraud Awareness Month in Canada? This is an opportunity to highlight the importance for Canadians to recognize, reject and report fraud.
Statistics from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, Canada’s central repository for information about fraud, finds that, in 2019 alone, Canadians lost over $98 million to fraud. The Centre estimates that Canadians have only reported approximately 5% of fraud cases to the authorities. This means that the actual impact of fraud is probably even larger than the numbers suggest!
Newcomers advised to take special precautions
According to a TD Fraud Survey released in time for Fraud Prevention Month, a majority of Canadians believe social isolation and major life changes increase Canadians’ vulnerability to financial fraud.
Immigrating to a new country is a major life change. In addition, newcomers and immigrants often face social isolation during the first few years since this move often leaves them without social networks or connections in communities, making them more vulnerable to fraud.
The TD Fraud Survey also provides a portrait on Canadians’ vulnerability to fraud. The survey states that while fraudsters continue to target Canadians of all ages and life stages, almost half of the survey respondents (44%) stated that they have been the target of attempted fraud in the past year. According to the survey, newcomers to Canada who are unfamiliar with Canadian banking, tax or legal practices could be particularly at risk. The survey revealed that 35% of Canadians believe moving to Canada from another country may lead to increased susceptibility to fraud attacks like the CRA scam.
The CRA scam refers to scammers pretending to be Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) employees who often contact Canadians to trick them into paying fake debts.
Tips for recognizing and rejecting fraud
For Canadians looking to learn how to help recognize and reject fraud, below are some tips for recognizing and rejecting fraud while carrying out your banking activities. This list is based on advice offered by TD.
- Be extra cautious with requests to send money – If you receive an email or call from or about supposed relatives 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 – be sure you know who you’re transacting with, whether you are sending or receiving money.
- Check your statements, online accounts or banking apps regularly – Taking these steps will help alert you to unauthorized transactions faster. Money management apps can provide notifications of spend transactions in real-time, which helps make it easier for customers to recognize a suspicious transaction quickly.
- Use available tools – Banks continue to offer new tools to help their customers manage accounts and stay alert. For example, a number of financial institutions have fraud alerts that notify customers by text message if suspicious activity is detected on personal banking accounts; often a bank’s verification process will add an extra layer of security in protecting your accounts, especially if you are logging in from a new device; and some banks allow you the option to temporarily lock your credit card from your banking app on the phone if lost or misplaced – so it cannot be used by anyone else if its found.
- Protect your financial information – It’s important to protect your financial account information and personal identification number (PIN). The only person who should know your PIN or credentials is you – not even your bank should know it. Don’t ever give out your PIN or credentials, whether in person, over the phone, online or by mail.
- Report fraud – if you are targeted by a scam or have been scammed by a fraudster, report it to your local law enforcement and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.