TORONTO—Many Canadian companies focus their security efforts on viruses, worms and other nefarious online threats, but there is another very real threat that is often overlooked: personal information fraud.
Fraudsters have sophisticated ways of stealing or tricking people into revealing personal information through smart phones, tablets, and social media sites.
According to the 2012 TD Canada Trust Fraud Prevention Month poll, 72 per cent of Canadians are concerned about becoming a victim of fraud compared to 79 per cent last year.
But many 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.”
Business owners should ensure their staff take these actions to protect themselves and the company from online bandits:
Ensure their computer’s security software and virus/malware protection is up-to-date
Subscribe to the highest level of privacy on their social media accounts
Use an automatic lock function with a password-protection feature whenever their mobile phone, tablet or computer starts-up or times-out
Never text or email banking information
Never download social media apps from unknown sources
Never share email or social media site passwords
Hwang says malicious smartphone and social media apps are an emerging threat designed to steal personal information and use it to commit fraud.
“Always be cautious when downloading apps for your cell phone, tablet or computer. Try to stay with apps from well-known and trusted brands,” he says.
But Hwang is concerned some Canadians still engage in risky behaviour: 14 per cent admit to carrying debit or credit card PINs in their wallet; 11 per cent have sent their credit card number through email; and 10 per cent have told someone their PIN.
In support of Fraud Prevention Month, TD Canada Trust developed a quiz to determine fraud I.Q. Click here to check it out!