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Header Advice for avoiding common financial fraud and scams targeting new Canadians
• Mar. 18, 2024

Financial fraud and scams – whether they take the form of identity theft, financial schemes, or dishonest business practices – can have a devastating effect on people and their families, especially among new Canadians who are just starting to navigate their new life in the country.

Indeed, it's a major concern for new Canadians. According to a new TD survey*, nine in 10 new Canadians surveyed said they are worried about financial fraud, which is notably higher than the general population.

Nearly three-quarters of new Canadians surveyed (73%), said they are more likely to feel vulnerable to being a target for financial fraud. What’s more, 28% of new Canadians surveyed said they do not know what to do in the event of being the victim of financial fraud.

If you or someone you know is new to Canada, the best defense against financial fraud is to become knowledgeable about the types of fraud and scams that target newcomers. Being aware of warning signs and potential red flags – and knowing how to report fraudulent activity – is the strongest line of defense.

While new Canadians are often targeted with the same scams as the general public, some of the more common scams that are designed to target new Canadians include:

Phishing scams

A tactic used by fraudsters to trick you into sharing your personal or financial information such as credit card or bank account numbers, passwords or your Social Insurance Number (SIN).

Here's how phishing often works: a scammer sends you an email, text, or voice message that appears to be from a legitimate company – for example, claiming that your online order is delayed, or that your bank has frozen your account – and tells you that you need to click a link and enter your personal information to "unlock" your account or access information about your order.

Providing personal information through phishing can lead to identity theft, which can result in a fraudster gaining full access to your banking information. Scammers often try to open credit products under your name at different financial institutions or use the information to compromise your accounts. Clicking on phishing links can also lead to viruses and malware, which can infect your computer, giving fraudsters access to your data, enabling them to potentially see your personal info, track your activity, and capture your password and login details.

Job scams

Job scams typically involve the fraudster posing as an employer who makes a fraudulent offer of employment to an unsuspecting victim. Fraudsters will sometimes advertise these fake jobs on legitimate job search websites, in classified ads, and through direct email or texts.

Once the fraudsters have offered their target victim a job, the fraudster (i.e. the "employer") convinces the victim to send them funds. The fraudster will often claim that these funds are either for training, uniforms or supplies for the job – none of which is true. Another tactic fraudsters may use (once the victim has agreed to the job) is to send the victim a counterfeit cheque or email money transfer with a convincing story about why they need them to cash the funds and send back some of the money.

In this scenario, the fraudster is essentially using the victim to commit fraud on their behalf by having the victim deposit a counterfeit cheque to the victim's deposit account after which the victim withdraws their own money and then sends some of it to the fraudster.

Most legitimate employers will conduct an interview (in-person or by video) before hiring you for a job. You should be wary of anyone who offers a job strictly over email or text, or an employer with an overly simple interview process. At the same time, any job that promises "easy money" should be seen as a red flag. A legitimate employer is unlikely to charge you to apply for a job or for job training and won't ask you to send them money directly or through a third party.

Romance scams

In many of these cases the fraudsters pretend to fall in love with someone over the Internet, and then take advantage of them, exploiting their trust and often defrauding them of their hard-earned dollars. Depending on the nature of the scam, and the potential financial payoff, romance scammers may spend weeks, months or even years building a relationship with their victims. Sometimes these relationships are built over phone, email, social media message and/or text messages, by sending photos and gifts, and by going to great lengths to earn their target's trust.

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre says that eventually, the scammer may urgently ask their victim for money, saying it's for something like emergency medical care. They might also ask a victim to receive money for them (which could make a victim unknowingly commit a crime), join in on a business venture, or invest in cryptocurrency. Fraudsters also often avoid meeting in person.

Here are some tips to help protect yourself against financial fraud:

Never share passwords or PINs: Never share your passwords or PINs with anyone, and use multi-factor authentication whenever possible. Choose passwords that are not easily guessed, and avoid entering passwords on devices you do not control, such as public or shared computers.

Be cautious with unknown emails (phishing): Do not open any suspicious emails or attachments from unusual email addresses. Do not click on links from unfamiliar email addresses either.

Be wary of purchase scams: If you’re going to buy something online, shop with well-established and familiar retailers. When shopping with new retailers, be vigilant and research the company or store prior to your purchase.

Stay protected from identity theft: Avoid sharing sensitive information such as your phone number, full birthdate and location with anyone, especially those you do not know well including on social media.

Refrain from acting quickly: Scammers often rush you into making urgent decisions, so speak with people you trust, like a loved one or family member, before making any financial decision, and do your own research as well.

Things you can do if you believe you are the victim of fraud:

If you believe you have been the victim of a scam or fraud, it is important to take immediate action to minimize the damage and help prevent further loss. Here are some recommended steps you can take:

    • Contact your financial institution: If you suspect that your bank account or credit card has been compromised, or if you spot a transaction that looks unfamiliar, contact your bank right away. . A financial institution can freeze your accounts and minimize further fraudulent activity and provideo a new debit or credit card.
    • Report the fraud: You must report fraud to your local police and can also report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. These resources can provide you with guidance on next steps.

    It is also helpful to understand what TD will not ask you.

    TD will NEVER:

    • call you to ask for personal information over the phone
    • request access to your personal computer
    • ask you to transfer money as part of an investigation
    • ask you to purchase gift cards
    • ask you to be dishonest
    • request access to your computer or mobile device
    • try to rush you into doing something

    For more information on how to spot and avoid frauds and scams, visit the TD Stories Fraud Hub.

    * The TD Fraud Prevention Month Survey was conducted by Maru Public Opinion on behalf of the TD Bank Group and undertaken between January 30 – February 4, 2024 by the sample and data management experts at Maru/Blue. The survey ran among 1,085 randomly selected Canadians aged 18+, all who are Maru Voice Canada online panelists. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of 1,085 has an estimated margin of error (which measures sampling variability) of ± 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

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