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In an economic climate that has 54 per cent of Canadians feeling stressed or anxious about financial fraud, education offers the best protection

TORONTO, Feb. 28, 2023 /CNW/ - A new survey released by TD Bank Group for this year's Fraud Prevention Month reveals that despite rising fears of being victimized by fraudsters, Canadians may not be well-equipped to protect themselves.

Amid shifting market conditions and the higher cost of living, 62 per cent of Canadians agree they are being targeted now more than ever, but nearly half (46 per cent) haven't taken any measures to educate themselves on fraud prevention or protection in the past year. In fact, close to eight-in-10 (78 per cent) Canadians say they don't have a high degree of confidence in their ability to identify potential scams or fraud.

The survey showed 51 per cent of Canadians feel vulnerable to being a target for fraud, while nearly half (47 per cent) believe the combination of hardships and a higher cost of living will expose them more to financial fraud and scams.

"As Canadians report being targeted by a record number of financial fraud attempts, many can benefit from using the tools and resources available to protect themselves and their loved ones," says Mohamed Manji, Vice President of Canadian Fraud Management at TD. "It's very important to exercise caution, especially at a time when fraudsters may take advantage of the economic challenges many Canadians are currently facing. In addition to the robust security measures TD has in place for its customers, the best defence against financial fraud is being aware and knowing how to spot it."

Both TD and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre offer a comprehensive library of articles discussing the latest trends in scams and measures Canadians can take to enhance their awareness and avoid falling victim to fraudsters.

How are Canadians being targeted?
According to the survey, nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) of Canadians reported being targeted by email/text message fraud, up 14 percentage points from last year, while 66 per cent were targeted over the phone. Fraudsters appear to be pivoting away from social media, with only 26 per cent reporting being targeted by this method, a 10 percentage point decrease from 2022. In addition, Canadians shared the scams they found most concerning, including identity theft (52 per cent), title fraud (23 per cent) and fake emergencies (20 per cent).

When assessing the factors that make Canadians most vulnerable to being a target of fraud, respondents identified age (43 per cent), loneliness or isolation (35 per cent), having recently moved to Canada (34 per cent) and financial hardship or job loss (32 per cent) as the biggest contributors.

"We're seeing more fraudsters preying on customers through the 'grandparent' or 'emergency' scam," adds Manji. "This cruel crime is often successful because it exploits someone's desire to care for their loved ones. If you get a call from somebody claiming to be a family member or friend in immediate need of funds, hang up the phone and call them back using a number you have for them."

With nearly one-in-three Canadians (31 per cent) saying they'd be too embarrassed to tell anyone if they were a fraud or scam victim, it's clear there's some stigma around talking about this type of crime. This is more apparent among younger Canadians, as 66 per cent of those in Gen Z and 44 per cent of Millennials admitted they wouldn't tell someone if they were swindled by fraudsters. If someone believes they've fallen victim to a scam, they should immediately report it to their financial institution, local police department, credit bureaus (Equifax and TransUnion) and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

How can Canadians protect themselves?
For Canadians looking to educate and better protect themselves from financial fraud, TD recommends the following tips and advice:

  • Get educated: Read and share TD fraud resources and advice to learn more about common fraud scams so you can more easily identify and avoid them.
  • Be alert: Remember your bank would never call you and ask for your personal information, or request that you make any financial transaction to help in a fraud or internal investigation. If you get a call from someone claiming to be with your bank's fraud department, hang up and call the phone number on the back of your debit card – it's best to use a different phone line, if you can. In addition, don't open links from email addresses and phone numbers you don't recognize.
  • Be honest: Your bank would never instruct you to lie or keep a secret. It's important to always be honest with branch staff as they're the first line of defence in helping to protect your money.
  • Regularly review statements and account activity: Money management apps, like the TD MySpend app, can be helpful tools and provide notifications of spending transactions in real-time, making it easier for you to quickly recognize fraudulent transactions. Immediately report any transactions you don't recognize to your financial institution.
  • Protect your personal information: Manage your card by using the TD app to lock a misplaced credit card or block international in-person purchases when you're not travelling outside of Canada. Always hide your PIN and passwords – and never give out this information to anyone. Your financial institution will never ask you for your banking credentials, such as your online banking password or the one-time security code that's sent to your mobile device or email address.
  • Stay informed: Use free services like TD Fraud Alerts to receive text messages to notify you of suspicious activity on your personal banking accounts.

About the TD Fraud Survey
The TD Fraud Survey is provided by Maru Public Opinion for TD Bank Group, undertaken by the sample and data collection experts at Maru/Blue. 1,521 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Maru Voice Canada online panelists were surveyed from February 3rd to February 4th, 2023. The results of this study have been weighted by education, age, gender and region (and in Quebec, language) to match the population, according to Census data. This is to ensure the sample is representative of the entire adult population of Canada. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error (which measures sampling variability) of +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals when compared to the data tables are due to rounding.

About TD Bank Group
The Toronto-Dominion Bank and its subsidiaries are collectively known as TD Bank Group ("TD" or the "Bank"). TD is the sixth largest bank in North America by assets and serves over 27 million customers in four key businesses operating in a number of locations in financial centres around the globe: Canadian Personal and Commercial Banking, including TD Canada Trust and TD Auto Finance Canada; U.S. Retail, including TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank®, TD Auto Finance U.S., TD Wealth (U.S.), and an investment in The Charles Schwab Corporation; Wealth Management and Insurance, including TD Wealth (Canada), TD Direct Investing, and TD Insurance; and Wholesale Banking, including TD Securities. TD also ranks among the world's leading online financial services firms, with more than 15 million active online and mobile customers. TD had $1.9 trillion in assets on October 31, 2022. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades under the symbol "TD" on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges.

SOURCE TD Bank Group

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