Canadian fraud climate: what can people do to prevent identity theft

Friday 20 May 2022 10:13 CET | Editor: Irina Ionescu | Interview

Rachel Jolicoeur from Interac discusses Canadians’ exposure to online fraud and breaks down the most important steps people can make to protect their identity and deter fraudsters.

As a new survey from Interac Corp. shows, 86% of Canadians are handling fraud attempts with an alarmingly regular occurrence. Moreover, most Canadians (78% of them) claim they lack the necessary information on how to protect their personal data online, from being exposed to identity fraud. What does fraud fatigue look like, in your opinion, and what makes Canadians vulnerable to digital fraud/ scams?

Indeed, our survey showed that almost 1 in 3 Canadians have either been a victim of fraud, or identity fraud or had someone in their family fall victim to fraud, within the last twelve months. Though not everyone falls victim to fraud, almost 4 in 5 reports experiencing at least one fraud attempt per month.

This repetition leads to frustration, which we like to call fraud fatigue, and can determine lapses in judgment when transacting or participating in online activities. Many Canadians are providing personal information through social media posts, gaming or entertainment apps, online marketplaces, or email that can be collected and used by fraudsters in scams. As Canadians spend more time online, they must be careful to stay vigilant and review their activities through a lens of how it might make them more or less vulnerable to fraud attempts. 

What are the main types of fraud/ scams people are subjecting themselves to when keeping an active online profile?

In our increasingly digital world, many Canadians have behaved in ways that may make them more vulnerable to cybercriminals who take pieces of personal information and then use that to try to scam people into giving them more information. As more and more of our lives take place online, and personal and contact information is more readily available to cybercriminals, Canadians should verify the authenticity of individuals requesting further personal or any type of financial information. 

How can Canadians maintain this active digital social profile (social media apps, paying taxes, online shopping, ID verification) while still being protected against fraudsters?

There are three ways to stay guarded against fraudsters: 

  • Stay savvy on social media: do not share identifying details such as home address or license plate number in social media posts. Nearly one in four Canadians (23%) are not scrutinising the personal information they post on social media.

  • Layer security: adopt multi-factor authentication, where possible, and review statements for fraud. 8 in 10 Canadians (81%) are reviewing their bank statements for instances of fraud and two thirds (66%) are opting to use multi-factor authentication when available. 

  • Check your passwords: use multiple, complex passwords across often-used websites. As our research suggests, nearly 3 in 10 Canadians (27%) continue to use the same, simple passwords across multiple websites, which can further compromise their digital identity and become victims of ID fraud.

As most people shift towards a strong digital presence, are there any specific types of fraud that we could see surging in the near future? Could you state some of the trends in fraud both merchants and online shoppers should keep an eye on, in 2022?

The sophistication of fraud attempts is compounding the increasing rate of fraud Canadians are experiencing. Nearly 4 in 10 Canadians (38%have experienced a scam where the fraudster used personal information to appear as a trusted source, including their full name (61%), address (27%), and date of birth (12%). This practice is used to create a false sense of security and highlights the importance of safeguarding sensitive personal information.

As the world experiences a dramatic digital shift and the fight remains top of mind, the steps stated above can help protect Canadians against fraud attempts. In addition to these tips, Interac’s Digital Check-up tool is available to help counter fraud fatigue. It encourages digital self-care and helps consumers to keep a close eye on the strength of their data security, harnessing the advice of industry experts. 

Fraud by demographics – which age group do you think is most vulnerable to fraud and why? Are there any significant differences between genders?

In terms of fraud by demographics, there are little differences among age groups and gender for those who say they experience fraud frequently or fear experiencing fraud. 

However, data collected by us reveals that younger Canadians are more likely than older generations to be engaging in risky behaviours. For example, young adults, between the ages of 18 and 34 years old, are more likely than older generations to have saved some form of identity documentation on their mobile phone or laptop (68% of those 18-24, and 72% of those 25-34). Compared to older generations, however, this demographic is more confident in their belief that they can identify a fraud attempt when confronted with one. This confidence, potentially stemming from more digital saviness, could also create a false sense of security for younger Canadians transacting online.

About Rachel Jolicoeur

With 20 years of progressive experience in the payment industry, Rachel Jolicoeur specialises in fraud management and money movement services. She’s the Director of Fraud Mitigation and Strategy at Interac Corp. and is responsible for the creation and implementation of effective fraud prevention programmes and strategic partnerships to mitigate fraud losses and ensure an appropriate balance between fraud risk and customer experience. 

About Interac

Interac Corp. empowers Canadians to transact digitally with confidence by providing payment and value exchange services. As a leader in digital security and authentication alongside our subsidiary, 2Keys Corporation, and exclusive rights to SecureKey's digital ID rights in Canada, security is the core of everything we do. Through our world-class privacy, fraud mitigation, governance, and digital identity and authentication expertise, we help keep Canadian customers safe and secure when transacting. 

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Keywords: fraud detection, fraud management, payment fraud, identity theft, identity fraud, online fraud
Categories: Fraud & Financial Crime
Companies: Interac Corp.
Countries: Canada
This article is part of category

Fraud & Financial Crime

Interac Corp.

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