When Melissa Vroon, co-founder of familyfuncanada.com, received an invoice for a transaction she didn’t remember, she began investigating. It turns out she had been the victim of credit card fraud. Though her banking institution reimbursed her, she still wanted answers. The invoice was billed to her name and address but had a different name and address for where the item was to be shipped. After some research, Vroon tracked the fraud down to a company, and the HR department assisted her in tracking down the employee involved in the fraud.
“It was very frustrating because it is not a simple case of changing my credit card number,” says Vroon. “I pay most of my bills on my credit card so I had to go down the list and contact each one to advise them my credit card had been compromised. Then I had to wait a couple of weeks to get a new card sent to me, which meant I didn’t earn any reward points for purchases during that time. Plus, purchases on the old card that needed to be returned were issued a store credit rather than a refund.”
While victims of fraud are protected and will not suffer any financial losses resulting from circumstances beyond their control, as Vroon points out, sorting out fraud can be a time consuming and frustrating process. It can take hours, days or weeks—even in some cases, months—to correct your financial identity.
One growing concern for Canadians is preventing online fraud. With the increasing popularity of smartphones, tablets and social media sites, fraudsters have sophisticated ways of tricking consumers into revealing personal information. According to the 2012 TD Canada Trust Fraud Prevention Month poll, many Canadians are worried about emerging types of fraud such as online fraud (84%), malicious social media apps (77%), phishing (72%) and fraudulent cell phone apps (61%).
"As technology continues to evolve, so too are the tricks fraudsters use to try and steal your personal information," says Justin Hwang, Associate Vice President, Fraud Management, TD Canada Trust. "Banks and credit card companies have sophisticated security measures in place and work closely with law enforcement to protect their customers, but it is important to remember that you are the first line of defence."
Hwang says an emerging type of fraud consumers should watch out for is malicious smartphone and social media apps that are designed to steal personal information, which is then used to commit fraud.
"It's encouraging to see so many Canadians are taking steps to protect themselves from fraud, but remember that fraudsters can lurk in unsuspecting places - including social media sites and even in mobile phone app stores—so it's important you remain vigilant," he says. "Always be cautious when downloading apps for your cell phone, tablet or computer. Try to stay with apps from well-known and trusted brands. For example, mobile banking apps from major financial institutions, like the TD Canada Trust mobile app, maintain a high level of security and integrity so are safe and secure to use."
In support of Fraud Prevention Month, TD Canada Trust has developed a new quiz to help Canadians determine how fraud-savvy they are and learn what they can do to help protect themselves:
3RD ANNUAL TD CANADA TRUST FRAUD PREVENTION QUIZ
1. True or False: If your bank needs to contact you, they may email you and ask you for your account information.
False: Your bank will never contact you by email asking for account information. If you have been emailed for this information then you have likely been "phished." Phishing refers to an online scam that seeks out personal financial information from people who believe they are sharing their information with a legitimate website or organization.
2. True or False: The anti-virus and anti-spyware software on your computer is sufficient to protect your personal information
False: Anti-virus and internet security software only helps protect your personal information if the software is up-to-date, and if it has the latest firewall installed. Fraudsters are always developing new ways to obtain your personal information online. For example, if malicious software gets uploaded onto your device it can track what you do online, tap into your personal information and even create spam that comes under the identity of a friend. Always be cautious when downloading apps.
3. True or False: There are simple clues to figure out whether or not a website is safe.
True: To see if a site is secure, check the lower corner of your browser window or to the right of the address bar, for a padlock. Any time you're on a screen to send personal information, make sure the padlock is closed or the key is intact. This indicates that security technology will scramble your personal information as it's being transmitted. As well, the secure website address will begin with "https://".
4. True or False: Sending an e-mail money transfer gives you the same security as online banking.
True: One of the biggest misconceptions about e-Transfers is that they are not secure. In reality, e-Transfers offer the same level of security and confidentiality as any online banking transaction. The e-mail notification of the transfer doesn't include the money or any banking information, only a notification of the pending transfer. In order for the recipient to collect the money, they must log into their own online banking service and correctly answer a security question.
5. True or False: It's not as important to be vigilant about transactions in brick and mortar stores because most fraudsters have moved online and found new ways to get personal information.
False: It's ALWAYS important to protect your personal information, on or offline. Financial institutions continually upgrade the sophisticated security measures they have in place to protect customers from fraud (e.g. CHIP technology on cards), but you should also do what you can to protect yourself by knowing where your cards are at all times and shielding the keypad when you enter your PIN.
For more information on fraud prevention, you can visit: http://www.td.com/privacyandsecurity/protect_yourself.jsp