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Older people are often assumed to be the main targets of financial fraudsters, but younger generations may actually be more at risk to fall victim to scams, research suggests.
More young people say they’ve been hit by financial fraud, with 63 per cent of those aged between 18 and 34 having been a victim of a scam at least once in their lives, according to the latest fraud report from the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada). That’s compared to 39 per cent of those aged 35 to 54 and 31 per cent of those over 55.
Credit card fraud is the top financial scam people fall victim to, the survey found, followed by email phishing scams and debit card scams.
The reason younger people might get burned more often lies in their online habits, CPA Canada said. Scammers are getting more sophisticated, moving beyond classic email phishing schemes and targeting consumers who are shopping or doing banking online. For example, 35 per cent of people between 18 and 34 have made a major purchase, such as an appliance, vacation or car, via the internet. But only 18 per cent of those aged 55 and over have done so. That could be risky behaviour, especially if consumers aren’t reading the fine print before plugging in their credit card numbers.
“The more we’re online, the more we’re opening ourselves up to smart scammers, so extra diligence is required,” Dorretta Thompson, CPA Canada’s financial literacy leader, said in a press release.
A rise in online banking has also made people more vulnerable to letting sensitive financial information fall into the wrong hands. Bank impersonation schemes, debit and credit card fraud are all growing as a result, the report said. Still, most people aren’t taking steps to protect themselves. Though 97 per cent of Canadians use a debit or credit card, only 42 per cent have signed up to receive transaction alerts through email or text, a safety mechanism designed to flag card holders of suspicious purchases, the report said.
But even those alerts must be scrutinized. “We don’t always know who is on the other side of our screens,” Thompson said. “Many scammers use impersonation tactics to pose as a trusted source to steal money or personal information.”
That’s not to say that falling prey to financial fraud is inevitable. There are some important steps consumers can take to better protect themselves, CPA Canada said. For one, people should always make sure they’re making transactions or sharing financial information on a secure website. They should also never use public WI-FI or an unsecured network to access online bank accounts. CPA Canada advises using a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, when accessing unsecured WI-FI in order to reduce the risk of getting hacked.
Additionally, credit and debit card users should keep their Personal Identification Numbers private and make them difficult to guess. That means using a phone number or a birth date for a PIN is out.
Consumers should also get educated about their rights and the steps they need to take in case they do fall victim to fraud, the report said. For example, consumers who suspect they’ve been scammed must immediately notify the appropriate financial institution, such as their bank or credit card issuer, and change their passwords and PINs, CPA Canada said. Fraud should also be reported to the police and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. Finally, consumers may also want to consider sounding the alarm to those closest to them.
“Don’t be ashamed — telling family and friends might prevent them from becoming a victim, too,” the report said.
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The annual rate of inflation slowed to 5.9 per cent in January, Statistics Canada reported on Feb. 21, a marked slowdown from 6.3 per cent in December.
However, grocery prices soared in January, rising 11.4 per cent, compared to 11 per cent in December. On a monthly basis, gas prices rose 0.5 per cent in January after declining by 0.6 per cent a month prior.
Still, the latest consumer price index reading suggests that inflation will continue to go lower in the months ahead, supporting the Bank of Canada’s predictions at its last policy meeting when it hiked rates by another 25 basis points. Governor Tiff Macklem said he would pause any more hikes for the time being, to assess whether rates were high enough to dampen inflation.
One key area Macklem is watching is the rate of services inflation, which Macklem has said “needs to cool” if interest rates are to come down. The prices of services continued to rise in the second half of last year even as goods inflation slowed. But, in January prices looked to be headed in the right direction, with the cost of services increasing 5.3 per cent from January 2022, down from 5.6 per cent in December and the slowest since June 2022.
“That’s enough to keep higher borrowing costs at bay for now,” Kevin Carmichael writes in his analysis of the inflation numbers.
- Wendy Luther, CEO of Halifax Partnership, hosts a discussion with François-Philippe Champagne, minister of innovation, science and industry, and Frank McKenna, deputy chair of wholesale banking with TD Bank Group. The discussion will be centred around the theme “Resiliency in Challenging Times,” and will cover topics such as economic security, innovation and productivity, supply chain, green economy and critical minerals, and the Canada-U.S. relationship
- The Canada Border Services Agency and Aeroports de Montreal hold an information session on measures to improve international and cross-border travel
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will participate in a town hall with farmers and agricultural producers
- Completion of the arrangement wherein Foodtastic will acquire Freshii Inc. is expected to occur on or about Feb. 22
- Restaurant Brands International Inc. will host a meeting with Patrick Doyle, executive chairman of the company. The event will provide investors with the opportunity to hear directly from Doyle about his decision to invest approximately $30 million in RBI and join the team as executive chairman. Doyle will also update investors on his initial observations following his first nearly 100 days at RBI
- Alberta Minister of Technology and Innovation Nate Glubish will provide an update on the continued growth of Alberta’s technology and innovation sector
- Today’s data: Canadian travel figures for December
- Earnings: Nvidia Corp., Rio Tinto Plc, TJX Cos. Inc, Pioneer Natural Resources Co., eBay Inc., Bausch + Lomb Corp., Canadian Apartment Properties Real Estate Investment Trust, Gildan Activewear Inc., Lundin Mining Corp., Whitecap Resources Inc., Alamos Gold Inc., B2Gold Corp., Pan American Silver Corp., Leon’s Furniture Ltd., IMAX Corp., Trican Well Service Ltd., High Liner Foods Inc., Enwave Corp., Stelco Holdings Inc.
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Air passenger rights in Canada are meant to compensate consumers if their flights are delayed, or if their baggage is lost. According to the Canadian Transport Agency, travellers are eligible for payment of up to $2,350 if their baggage is “damaged, delayed or lost” during domestic or international travel. Passengers are also eligible for payments of $125 to $1,000 if their flight is delayed more than three hours. However, you need to go through a lengthy process to make a claim, and the CTA website says it could take more than 18 months for your complaint to be reviewed.
Instead of relying on compensation that may never come, travellers might want to consider purchasing extended travel insurance. Making a claim is easy, and the payout you’ll get is clearly outlined in your insurance policy. Barry Choi, a columnist for our content partner MoneyWise Canada, explains what you need to know.
Today’s Posthaste was written by Victoria Wells (@vwells80), with additional reporting from Financial Post staff, The Canadian Press, Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg.
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