Canadians believe isolation, increased online presence presents greater risk of becoming victim of fraud


Published March 2, 2021 at 12:39 am

Anthony Urciuoli/ photo

With many businesses having shifted to functioning predominantly digitally, many more Canadians are at risk of becoming victims of fraud.

A recent survey from Interac Corp. found that 55 per cent are concerned this, coupled with increased isolation, is making Canadians more susceptible to fraud.

According to the findings, 58 per cent of respondents said they believe the pandemic has created additional points of vulnerability for fraudsters, which has elevated their stress levels.

“As Canadians enter the second year of COVID-19 we examined the impacts of these pressures on their fraud defences to provide tips on how to prevent emerging scams heightened by the pandemic,” Rachel Jolicoeur, Director of Fraud Mitigation and Strategy at Interac Corp., said in a news release.

“While we anticipated the isolation, financial hardship, and stress from the pandemic would impact Canadians’ defences against fraud, we were surprised to see many groups feeling confident in how they spot scams, despite the rise in fraud during these tough times,” she continued.

Additionally, 57 per cent of respondents said they have noticed an increase in fraud attempts this year, while 52 per cent believe an increase in online activities, such as virtual learning, banking, accessing government services, shopping, and socializing, presents a greater risk of fraud attempts.

“People are feeling particularly anxious, stressed, and preoccupied as a result of COVID-19 as our sense of normalcy has been disrupted. Additional stressors and pressures, including health, family, work, debt, isolation, loneliness, and general uncertainty make it harder to spot and resist a clever fraud attempt,” Christine Purdon, a psychologist from the University of Waterloo, said in the same release.

“Stress and anxiety put us into fight or flight mode, maximizing our potential to respond quickly to a threat. However, this can lead us to make decisions more quickly and with less deliberation – something fraudsters know and act on,” she continued.

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