Canada has over 36 million internet users, making it one of the most prominent online markets in the world. With 96 per cent of Canadians engaging in online activities and 97 per cent having a debit and/or credit card1, fraud and online scams are common — here’s how you can protect yourself and your money.
Chances are, you have been a target of fraud at some point. Whether it’s a phone call for “duct cleaning,” a message from the “government” about an outstanding tax bill or a text message asking you to confirm your credit card details, Canadians have unfortunately become accustomed to attempts on their money and information. While many have become savvier, fraudsters have become more sophisticated, and as a result, fraud continues to rise.
While the pandemic set the stage for fraudsters capitalizing on the increased need for testing kits, grocery delivery and courier services, fraudulent activity remains a growing problem in Canada. In 2022, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre saw a 40 per cent increase in victim losses over the year before, reaching $530 million in money reportedly lost to fraud.
Given the increased activity, it’s important for Canadians to remain watchful over their finances. Here are three ways to help spot a scam and protect your money.
1. Use alerts to spot suspicious activity
It’s easy to stay on top of suspicious transactions when you set up alerts on your account.
Fraud alerts: You can receive a notification if an unusual Interac e-Transfer transaction is made or if a credit card transaction looks out of the ordinary. You can usually choose push notifications, emails or text messages.
Transaction alerts: There are a few different types of transaction alerts available. For example, you can get notified when your account balance drops below a certain threshold that you set, or you can choose to be notified if a large purchase is made on your credit card. Transaction alerts help you easily keep track of account balances and stay on top of your account activity so you can quickly spot anything unusual.
2. Stay close to your money
Knowing exactly what your money is doing — or at least what it should be doing — is an important way to fight fraud. After all, being able to immediately spot a transaction that doesn’t look right can help you react sooner. While you can check in with your money regularly through online and mobile channels, it’s even better if you have tools that will do this for you.
3. Connect with your bank
If you do notice something suspicious with your account — or you received an unusual text, phone call or email that’s left you feeling uneasy — protect yourself by notifying your bank immediately.
When it comes to protecting yourself against fraud, education is key. Take a look at Fraud Prevention: 5 Common Scams and How to Defend Against Them for more practical tips to keep you and your information safe.
1.Ipsos: Fraud is too Common in Canada: Nearly Half (43%) of Canadians Have Knowingly Been Victimized by Fraud or Scams, in their Lifetime
2. RBC Mobile is operated by Royal Bank of Canada, RBC Direct Investing Inc. and RBC Dominion Securities Inc.
This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.