Canadians concerned about identity theft and protection of personal information
Fear of identity theft is up and trust in the efforts of Canadian businesses to safeguard personal information is eroding, according to an annual fraud survey commissioned by Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada).
More than seven-in-ten (71 per cent) of those surveyed agreed that they are concerned about identity theft, up from 66 per cent last year. Roughly three quarters of the respondents (76 per cent) fear Canadian businesses are vulnerable to cyber attacks regarding their personal data, compared to 73 per cent in 2017. In addition, fewer respondents (68 per cent) believe Canadian businesses are doing the best they can to safeguard the personal information of customers, down from 72 per cent last year.
About four in 10 of respondents (39 per cent) say they fear their personal information has been compromised.
"Canadians are living more of their lives online and companies face significant challenges associated with gathering, managing and protecting information," says Doretta Thompson, director, corporate citizenship, CPA Canada. "In today's ever-evolving economy, change is rapid, and the threat of fraud is constant. Canadians are strongly encouraged to be aggressive in protecting themselves against fraud."
The survey found that 68 per cent of the respondents believe electronic payment methods, such as tapping debit and credit cards or using smartphone apps, facilitate fraudulent activities. Forty per cent of survey participants report feeling uncomfortable buying online.
"Use trusted websites, reputable payment processors and check your bank or credit card statements regularly for discrepancies," suggests Thompson. "You are your own best gatekeeper when it comes to protecting your personal information. Be extremely cautious about what information you share online. Fraudsters are always looking for personal data."
Thirty-five per cent of respondents report being a victim of financial fraud at some point in their lives, basically unchanged from last year. Credit card fraud (75 per cent) and debit card fraud (24 per cent) remain the top two listed in terms of the types cited.
To help consumers recognize, avoid and report fraud, CPA Canada published Protecting You and Your Money: A Guide to Avoiding Identity Theft and Fraud. The book is available for ordering at cpacanada.ca/financialliteracypublications.
March is Fraud Prevention Month in Canada. Actual or suspected frauds can be reported to the Canada Anti-Fraud Centre (antifraudcentre.ca or toll free at 1-888-495-8501).
The 2018 CPA Canada Fraud Survey was conducted by Nielsen via telephone between February 7 and February 18, 2018, with a national random sample of 1,000 adult Canadians aged 18 years and over and is considered accurate to within ±3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.