Fraud Prevention Month takes place every March and is an annual education and awareness campaign encouraging Canadians to recognize, reject and report fraud. As information becomes more widely available online, it’s important for Canadians to protect themselves and their finances against potential fraud.
Capital One Canada released a study for Fraud Prevention Month that found, while some consumers are taking the steps to protect themselves from fraud, there is still much more that can be done.
According to the Capital One Canada study, younger generations are more open with sensitive information. A quarter of Canadian millennials (25%) have shared their PIN with a friend, more than double the rate of average Canadians (11%). One in ten Canadian millennials have also shared their PIN with a co-worker (9%) and use personal information such as a birthday, address, or phone number as their PIN (10%), leaving them at higher risk of fraud.
When it comes to identity theft protection, a large majority (87%) of Canadians are not reviewing their credit report every year, which could help them uncover potential fraudulent use of their personal information. Online, 40% of Canadians suspect they have been a target of phishing in the last year alone.
For credit card and PIN number protection, almost half of Canadians (49%) use the same PIN for multiple cards, opening them up to potential account takeovers. Many Canadians (47%) have also shared their credit card number over the phone, via email or through the mail, which again leaves them open to potential fraud. Finally, while most are protecting their PIN, 40% of Canadians have shared their PIN with family members.
Consumers are the first line of defense when it comes to protecting themselves against fraud. Capital One Canada's research shows that many Canadians - millennials in particular - aren’t doing enough to protecting themselves.
Capital One Canada offers the following tips to help consumers protect themselves from fraud:
1. Protect your personal information.
Whether it’s over the phone, through the mail or on the Internet, always know who you are sharing your personal information with.
2. Select a strong PIN and protect it.
Never use personal information such as a birthday, address, SIN number or telephone number as your PIN, and use a different PIN for each card. Cover the keypad when you enter your PIN, and never store a copy of your PIN near your card or share it with anyone.
3. Review and take advantage of the features your card offers.
Many credit cards have fraud detection features, like two-way fraud alerts, that require users to opt-in. If these options are available to you, take advantage of them.
4. Get a copy of your Credit Report.
Reviewing your credit report can alert you to possible fraud and identity theft. Canadians can order a free copy of their credit report once per year, from one of the credit reporting agencies in Canada by visiting their website.
5. Watch out for Phishing E-mails.
Fraudsters frequently use email to find victims, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Keep your eyes open for grammatical or spelling errors, emails that demand an urgent response, and hover over any embedded links to confirm the website is legitimate. If you have any concerns, contact the company that it claims to be from to verify the email.
Visit capitalone.ca/fraudprevention to learn more about preventing fraud.