Have You Fallen for a Phone, E-mail, or Text Scam?

Seventy-seven per cent of Canadians are targeted by fraudsters via phone, e-mail, text, or skimming, a new CIBC poll finds.

“Awareness is the first step to fraud prevention,” said CIBC senior VP of retail transaction fraud and client account management Norah McCarthy.

“Our poll results show that constant vigilance is the best way to protect yourself. Fraud comes in many forms and can have serious consequences if you don’t take steps to protect yourself. Protecting yourself begins with recognizing and reporting fraud when you see it.”

Roughly 56 per cent of Canadians say they’re experiencing fraud attempts at least once a month.

As many as 85 per cent consider financial fraud “a fact of life in the age of digital information.”

Fraud by e-mail is the most prevalent type of financial fraud — it was experienced by 70 per cent of Canadians surveyed.

The next most common forms were phone fraud (42 per cent), text fraud (37 per cent), and device-based fraud (14 per cent).

Text fraud is the second most prevalent fraud type among the 18-to-34-year-old age group, after e-mail.

McCarthy points out that signing up for free fraud alerts with your bank and learning about how you can reportinstances of attempted fraud can help protect you and others.

“We also recommend clients take security precautions and monitor their accounts regularly for any unusual or suspicious activity,” she said.

The poll showed that 75 per cent of Canadians wish there was more they could do to protect their elderly parents from financial fraud and two-thirds (66 per cent) are concerned their elderly parents will be targeted.

“It’s important to have candid conversations with your parents about protecting their finances and making sure they’re aware of and recognize potential frauds,” said McCarthy.

“In some cases, it might make sense to have a financial Power of Attorney arrangement in place to not only ensure accounts and funds are properly used but also to mitigate against fraud.”


March is national fraud prevention month. Here are some fraud prevention tips:

  • Register for fraud alerts to receive real-time fraud alerts from your bank. Contact your bank immediately if you get a message about a potential fraud.
  • Don’t share your PIN, Password or One Time Verification codes. Only you should know this information. If you think someone else knows your PIN number, change it immediately. Never use an obvious PIN number.
  • Always use a unique password for banking. Protect your PIN number, passwords, card and account numbers. Use different passwords for your credit card and bank accounts. Banks will never request personal information, PINs or passwords by email.
  • Only use secure websites when making an online purchase. Secure websites have the prefix “https” and show a padlock. Provide personal information only if you have initiated contact and know who you are dealing with.
  • Never give credit card, online account, or personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call and verified the merchant is reputable.
  • Regularly check your statements, online accounts and banking apps to verify your transactions. Report any inaccuracies immediately.
  • Always be cautious when receiving unsolicited emails or opening email attachments from senders you don’t know. They are either phishing emails or can contain malicious software.
  • Beware of telephone calls from people asking you to take urgent action to fix or do something and request your personal information to do it. Some scammers will say your computer is infected and ask for your password to “fix” it.

(Source: CIBC)

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