Many Canadians are victims of financial fraud, with almost half (46 per cent) of respondents reporting they have fallen victim at some point in their lives, according to the latest survey conducted by Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada).
Released in advance of March – Fraud Prevention Month – CPA Canada's 2022 Fraud Study found that credit card fraud remains the leading type of financial fraud – which almost a quarter of survey respondents have experienced (24 per cent), followed by email or phishing fraud, which eight per cent have been a victim of.
"Canadians lives are increasingly online, making it more important than ever to be vigilant and alert to protect private information," says Doretta Thompson, CPA Canada's financial literacy leader. "That means we have to be very cautious and mindful of pitfalls when we use the internet."
Almost four-in-five of those surveyed (76 per cent) visit retail websites, 72 per cent do internet banking, and an equal number manage their credit card balance and statements online.
Additionally, Smart Home applications that can be controlled by smartphone or voice technology are becoming more popular. Out of those surveyed, 30 per cent use smart speakers such as Google Home or Alexa, while 17 per cent have remote home temperature controls and 16 per cent have smart security cameras. As our devices get 'smarter' and make our lives more convenient, the Internet of Things (IoT) presents personal security intrusion risks. Cybercriminals are getting stealthier in tandem with these changes and are working to access the personal information these devices hold, meaning Canadians need to stay informed and alert.
Awareness not turning into actionThe majority of survey respondents (69 per cent) are more concerned about fraud than they were five years ago. In addition, 62 per cent of respondents said they are doing more now in terms of fraud prevention when compared with five years ago.
Even with this increased awareness, concern and action, there is still room for improvement, especially when it comes to password protection
One quarter (25 per cent) of respondents change important online passwords for personal information less than once a year, while eight per cent have never changed passwords for important information. Experts recommend frequent password changes to keep financial information as secure as possible.
Protect yourself from fraud with these tips:
Nielsen conducted the CPA Canada 2022 Annual Fraud Survey via an online questionnaire, from January 25 to February 3, 2022, with 2,004 randomly selected Canadian adults, aged 18 years and over, who are members of their online panel. A background document can be found online at: cpacanada.ca/fraud.
About Canada's CPAs
The Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation is used by more than 220,000 professional accountants around the world. Canadian CPAs are valued for their financial and tax expertise, strategic thinking, business insight, management skills and leadership. Canadian CPAs serve in senior roles in Canada and abroad and are recognized as having the highest standards of professionalism and integrity. They work in all sectors of the economy: public practice, industry, government, not for profit and academia. cpacanada.ca