Have You Clicked on an E-mail Scam?

Published March 1, 2018 at 3:18 pm


Online payment fraud such as phishing is a growing trend.

Same goes for skimming.

And Canadians are worried about it.

Nearly one in four polled feel uncertain of their ability to spot a phishing scam, a new Interac survey finds.

Canadians are more likely to worry about payment fraud scams than home break-ins, vehicle theft and plane crashes.

In addition, nearly one-quarter of Canadians say they have clicked on a link that resulted in a phishing scam, while 64 per cent say they have been tempted to click on a link they weren’t completely sure was safe.

“As payment fraud increasingly migrates online through scams like phishing, the continued work we do with our partners to detect and prevent fraudulent activity has never been more important,” said Interac’s chief data scientist and VP of fraud Rob Fodor.

“It’s also why we feel strongly about arming Canadians with the information they need to spot, avoid and report any phishing scams they may come across.”

The survey was released on March 1.

While offline payment fraud is decreasing, one possible reason payment fraud is so top of mind as a worry for Canadians is the uncertainty being online may bring.

Across all age groups, two-thirds report having been tempted to click on a link they weren’t completely sure was safe.

This uncertainty is putting Canadians at risk, say experts.

Phishing is a scam where fraudsters attempt to acquire personal or financial information, such as passwords or card numbers, by masquerading as a trustworthy person or business through electronic communications. It’s typically carried out using e-mail or an instant message, although phone contact has been used as well.

In this case, Fodor says, the best offense is a good defense.

“When you’re online, don’t click on any links or open any attachments if you receive them from a sender you don’t recognize. And trust your gut. If you weren’t expecting the deposit or money request notification from someone you know, contact the sender through a different channel to check if it’s real,” said Fodor.

“Rest assured, there are security measures in place to ensure online and offline Interac transactions are secure but Canadians are a first line of defense in keeping their personal information private.”

March is Fraud Prevention Month. Here are some quick tips:

  • Don’t click on any links or open any attachments if you receive them from a sender you don’t recognize.
  • Trust your gut. If you receive a deposit or money request notification you weren’t expecting, contact the sender through a different channel to check if it’s real.
  • Look for errors or strange typos in the text of an email notification. A common error in phishing emails is the “$” sign appearing after the amount, instead of before it.
  • If you think the notification is a scam masquerading as an Interac e-Transfer, forward the email to [email protected] so our fraud team can further investigate.
  • If you accidentally fill out personal information in a link from a phishing scam, change your online banking password and contact your bank right away.
  • When transacting in person, protect your PIN.  Keep it to yourself and never share it with anyone, and if you’re making an in-store purchase shield the PIN pad when entering your number and remember to take the card out when the transaction is complete.
  • If you suspect your Interac debit card or mobile payment device has been compromised, lost or stolen, contact your bank right away.

When it comes to using  your debit card, here are some reminders.

Your debit card number is an identifier only: When someone pays using debit, businesses never receive any personal financial information and the payment is authorized with a random one-time use number that applies only to that transaction.

Mobile wallets can’t access your financial info: When debit is added to a mobile wallet, financial information is substituted with a token, a unique ‘virtual account number,’ so no financial information is stored or shared. Interac Debit on mobile also has the added protection of passcode and biometric ID verification.

You’re protected against fraud: Consumers and businesses are protected by the zero liability policy, which is a money back guarantee for Interac debit cardholders protecting against losses beyond their reasonable control like technical errors, system problems or fraud.

Money doesn’t travel over e-mail: When sending an Interac e-transfer, the actual financial transaction is completed directly between the two financial institutions. No funds or personal financial information are ever transferred over e-mail.

Check out interac.ca/fraudprevention for more security information.

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