How to Reduce the Risk of Financial Fraud

August 28, 2018

Take preventative steps to reduce the risk of being a victim of financial fraud by ensuring safe online banking, being careful when online shopping and recognizing all unauthorized transactions made to your banking account.

Credit card fraud, identity theft, taxfraud and debit card fraud are all examples of financial scams that Canadians shouldn’t turned a blind eye to. According to a report made by the Government of Canada, Canadians lost over $290 million due to fraud from January 2014 to December 2016. Unfortunately, every Canadian is at risk of financial fraud. The good news is there are steps you can take to minimize your risk of falling victim to it. Learning the signs of fraud and how to protect yourself and your loved ones can help you fight back if you ever find yourself caught in a suspicious financial situation.

Losing a wallet or receiving a fishy email or phone call from someone asking for personal information are just two examples of how someone can fall victim to financial fraud. The best thing you can do if you find yourself in a situation like this is to report the incident immediately. Visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online or contact Service Canada at 1-800-206-7218 to report any questionable activity that has to do with your personal financial information. In the meantime, here are three ways you can reduce your risk of financial fraud.

READ MORE: Fraud on Your Credit?

1. Ensure Safe Online Banking

Considering the simplicity of online banking, it can be easy to forget some of the risks involved with it. Paying bills, checking payments and making transfers to other people are a common occurrence between Canadians who want to make fast and easy transactions. Through the ease of it all, Canadians often forget about one thing while they’re signed into their online banking: safety. If you use online banking frequently, ensure that your passwords are strong and that you’re always keeping track of your account balances. Another great tip to ensure that your online banking information stays safe is to not agree for the site to “auto-remember” your password, as it could cause an easy target for cyber scammers, especially when you’re using public Wi-Fi. Using secure Wi-Fi and making sure that you’ve always logged out of your online banking once you’re finished with the webpage or mobile app could help minimize your risk of financial fraud by cyber scammers. If you notice anything strange regarding your online banking accounts, contact your bank immediately.

2. Be Careful Online Shopping

According to a report by Opstart, online shopping in Canada will reach roughly $39 billion by 2019. It’s no secret North Americans love their online shopping, but unfortunately, online scammers love it just as much. Online shopping is an efficient way to buy goods, however not every online shopping website is safe to make purchases from. Before you buy from an online retailer, ensure that you’re familiar with the company and the website is trustworthy. If the website looks poorly designed, you’re having a difficult time finding the privacy policy or you’re asked for credit card information before you click the online check-out button, proceed with caution. When it doubt, research the online company you’re looking to buy from. There’s a good chance other people will have feedback on how trustworthy the company was and if they were scammed or not.

3. Recognize Unauthorized Transactions

When your debit or credit card is lost or stolen, it’s important to report it to your financial institution as soon as possible. Any unauthorized transactions made under your name after your information was lost or stolen could mean someone is illegally using your banking information. If you don’t report missing cards, your bank won’t know to run any investigations, which might mean you won’t be able to get all the money that was stolen reimbursed. If you think someone is using your banking information, change your online passwords immediately, notify your bank and report any card usage that you didn’t make and keep a close eye on your bank accounts.

Knowing how to prevent fraudulent activity will help reduce the risk of being a victim of financial fraud. Use caution when online banking, ensure online shopping websites are trustworthy and legitimate before inputting credit information, and recognize and report any unauthorized transactions if your wallet or purse is lost or stolen. For more information on identity theft and financial fraud, visit the Government of Canada’s website.

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