According to a TD Fraud Survey released today for Fraud Prevention Month, a majority of Canadians believe social isolation and major life changes increase Canadians’ vulnerability to financial fraud.  While fraudsters continue to target Canadians of all ages and life stages, only 13% of Canadians say they personally feel vulnerable about being a target for fraud.

Life stage can impact vulnerability
Canadians surveyed also believe major life changes can play a role in how vulnerable someone may be to fraud. Key life changes seen to make people more vulnerable to fraudsters include:

  • Moving to Canada from another country (35%) – unfamiliarity with Canadian banking, tax, or legal practices may lead to increase susceptibility to fraud attacks like the CRA scam
  • Recent death in the family (32%) – those coping with loss may be more likely to fall for an emergency scam, if they believe a family member needs help
  • A recent divorce or separation (25%) – starting to date after the end of relationship may lead to increased susceptibility to a romance scam
  • Moving away from home for the first time (i.e. to attend university or college) (20%) – those who are new to managing their own budget/finances may fall prey to common phishing, text message or email scams
  • Starting a new job (9%) – first time job seekers may be more likely to fall prey to an employment scam

How Canadians perceive fraud risk
Survey results also found a strong disconnect between how generational groups feel about themselves personally and how they are perceived by others when it comes to vulnerability to fraud. Gen Z or students (29%) and Millennials (16%) are the most likely age groups to feel they are vulnerable or a target, while Boomers (92%) are the most likely to not feel personally vulnerable.

In contrast, widely held views point to older Canadians as being among the most vulnerable because of perceptions that they are less technologically savvy (72%), have more assets to target (51%), and because they’re generally trusting (48%). On the other end of the spectrum, younger Canadians (Millennials and Gen Z/students) are most likely to be perceived as the most vulnerable because of perceptions that they overshare personal information on social media (44% and 52% respectively) or are too busy to realize they’re at risk (30% and 44%).

Regardless of perceived vulnerability, financial fraud is widespread, with many Canadians having been targeted or affected by it. In the past year, nearly half (44%) of respondents believe they were the target of attempted fraud, including 39% who say they spotted and avoided it, and 5% who reported falling victim to it.

According to the survey, the most common methods of attempted fraud continue to be phone scams, such as a caller pretending to be from the Canada Revenue Agency (58%), and phishing emails or texts (56%).

For Canadians looking to learn how to help recognize and reject fraud, TD offers the following tips and advice:

  • Be extra cautious with requests to send money – If you receive an email or call from or about supposed relatives asking for funds because they’re in trouble overseas, or if you receive an unexpected and too-good-to-be-true cheque, chances are it’s fraud. Take some time to do a little research to verify if it’s real – it’s always important to know who you’re transacting with, whether you are sending or receiving money.
  • Check your statements, online accounts or banking apps regularly – Taking these steps will help alert you to unauthorized transactions faster. Money management apps, like the TD MySpend app, can provide notifications of spend transactions in real-time, which helps make it easier for customers to recognize a suspicious transaction quickly.
  • Use the tools – Banks continue to offer new tools to help their customers manage accounts and stay alert. For example:
    • TD Fraud Alerts notify customers by text message if TD detects suspicious activity on personal banking accounts.
    • With TD Card Controls, personal credit cardholders have the ability to temporarily lock their credit card from their banking app if lost or misplaced – so it cannot be used by anyone else if it’s found.
    • Enabling Interac e-Transfer® (EMT) Autodeposit means that any email money transfers a customer receives will be automatically deposited into their chosen account without having to answer a security question.
    • Two-Step Verification adds an extra layer of security protecting a customer’s bank accounts. Any time TD needs to confirm your identity online, for example, when logging in to EasyWeb from an unfamiliar device, customers can opt to receive a phone call or text with a one-time security code.
  • Protect your financial information – It’s important to protect your financial account information and personal identification number (PIN). The only person who should know your PIN or credentials is you – not even your bank should know it. Don’t ever give out your PIN or credentials, whether in person, over the phone, online or by mail.
  • Report fraud – if you are targeted by a scam or have been scammed by a fraudster, report it to your local law enforcement and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

About the TD Fraud Survey
TD Bank Group commissioned Ipsos to conduct a national online survey of 1,002 Canadians aged 18 years and older. Responses were collected between February 4-5, 2020.