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Scammers are capitalizing on the COVID-19 pandemic. With more people spending time at home and online — and many feeling isolated without social contact — Canadians have become easier targets. By staying up-to-the-minute with your money, you can spot and act upon suspicious activity quickly.

Scams have been on the rise in 2020. In fact, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre is on track to receive twice as many reports of phone scams this year over last. Plus, with fake websites promoting COVID-19 remedies, text messages claiming an inside track on testing kits, and phone scams offering free grocery delivery, fraudsters have been busy.

According to Adam Evans, Chief Information Security Officer at RBC, cyber criminals are not doing anything revolutionary when it comes to the scams they are running.

“What they are doing is leveraging COVID-19 as a world event to increase the likelihood of clicking a link or downloading an attachment, because Canadians want to know more about infections in our communities, vaccine trials, those sorts of things. Criminals will prey on those insecurities to increase the likelihood of interacting with [a target].”

Given the increased activity, it’s important for Canadians to remain extra watchful over their finances. Here are three ways to help spot a scam and protect your money.

1. Use Alerts to Spot Suspicious Activity

Now you can be notified if there’s a suspicious transaction made through your account. Within the RBC Mobile app1, for instance, you can receive a notification if there’s an unusual Interac e-Transfer transaction made. If a credit card transaction looks out of the ordinary, you’ll get a text message letting you know. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to connect with a fraud agent should you wish to talk to someone.

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.

NOMI, a feature on the RBC Mobile app, analyzes your spending and delivers tailored insights based on your banking habits. Through this analysis, NOMI can identify duplicate or unusual transactions and notify you when something looks off. Check that your NOMI Insights are turned on through your NOMI Settings to stay informed. Learn more about NOMI

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. By changing your PIN and password you can potentially avoid or limit your exposure.

When it comes to protecting yourself against fraud, education is key. Take a look at Six Ways to Protect Yourself from COVID-19 Scams for more practical tips to keep you and your information safe.

1 – RBC Mobile is operated by Royal Bank of Canada, RBC Direct Investing Inc. and RBC Dominion Securities Inc.