A recent survey conducted by TransUnion reveals that nearly half of Canadians (49 per cent) have reported being targeted by a fraud scheme recently.
According to the survey, there has been a 40 per cent increase in digital fraud attempts originating in Canada and targeting global businesses during the first half of 2023 compared to the same period last year.
The survey also found that telecommunications, insurance and online communities witnessed the most substantial increases in suspected digital fraud during that timeframe, with increases of 400 per cent, 90 per cent, and 75 per cent, respectively.
In Canada, the suspected digital fraud rate across all industries has risen to 4.5 per cent, up from 3.2 per cent in the past year. The rate has also seen an increase globally, reaching 5.3 per cent compared to 4.5 per cent year over year.
“There are a number of important considerations to take into account when attempting to measure the impact of digital fraud on any one particular industry,” TransUnion Canada head of identity management and fraud solutions Patrick Boudreau said in a press release.
“Certain factors must be considered, such as the overall size and rate of growth of different industries. Not only to contextualize fraud related data, but also to anticipate where fraudsters may continue to focus their efforts going forward.”
According to the survey, 43 per cent of the over 10,000 surveyed Canadians reported that they had been targeted by fraud but did not become victims of it. On the other hand, six per cent say they have fallen victim to fraud after being targeted.
When it comes to how they were targeted and which fraud schemes were used against them, 47 per cent of respondents mentioned that they were targeted through phishing attempts, which typically using deception to steal personal or financial data through emails, websites, social media posts or QR codes.
Among those surveyed, 43 per cent reported being targeted by voice phishing, also known as “vishing,” which involves fraudulent phone calls intended to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information. And 41 per cent experienced fraud through SMS phishing, or “smishing,” which entails fraudulent text messages designed to deceive recipients into disclosing their personal or financial data.
TIPS ON HOW TO AVOID FALLING FOR SCAMS
To safeguard against fraudulent scams, TransUnion recommends regularly monitoring your credit report for any unauthorized activity and disputing any unfamiliar purchases listed on your statement.
Avoid carrying unnecessary items such as extra credit cards, birth certificates, SIN cards, or passport in your wallet unless required. Make sure to install a lockable mailbox at your residence to mitigate the risk of mail theft.
In addition, be cautious when sharing personal information over the phone or online, especially if you didn’t initiate the contact. Scammers often use phishing emails, fake calls, or texts to obtain sensitive data. Always verify the legitimacy of the requestor before sharing any personal or financial information.
Another valuable tip is to thoroughly review your utility and subscription bills on a regular basis. By carefully examining these statements, you can ensure that all charges are legitimate and belong to you, helping to detect any fraudulent activity early on.
For your phone and PC security, it’s crucial to resist the temptation of using similar passwords across different accounts. Instead, opt for unique, strong passwords for each account to enhance your security. Additionally, strive to memorize your passwords and PINs so that you don’t have to write them down, reducing the risk of unauthorized access to your accounts.
If you suspect that you might become a victim of fraud, even if there hasn’t been any reported misuse of your credit or personal information yet, it’s a prudent step to place a Potential Fraud Alert on your credit file. This alert signals to potential lenders that there could be fraudulent activity associated with your information and provides them with your contact phone number for verification, adding an extra layer of protection to your financial security.
This article was originally sourced from www.CTVNews.ca