As the leaves start to turn and sweaters emerge from summer storage, November brings us more than just the chill of the coming winter. It’s Financial Literacy Month in Canada! A month dedicated to helping all of us improve our understanding of personal finance.
Here at Sigma Loyalty Group, we’re passionate about this cause. But we believe that financial literacy goes beyond just knowing how to balance your budget or where to invest your hard-earned money. It’s about equipping yourself with the knowledge to navigate the financial landscape confidently, and that includes understanding the various threats that can potentially compromise your financial health.
5 Signs of Digital Fraud
In Canada, we’ve seen a significant increase in fraud victimization since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic with losses reported to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) skyrocketing to over $530 million in 2022. The majority of these crimes are digital in nature, so it’s important to be aware of the signs and take proactive measures to protect your financial and personal data.
Here are 5 common signs that you may be the target of digital fraud:
Sign #1: You are pressured to make a decision fast or on the spot.
Receiving an email saying “You must act now. Tomorrow will be too late!” is a common technique used by fraudsters who prey on our fear of missing out. Genuine financial opportunities won’t evaporate overnight, so any pressure to act immediately should always be a warning sign. Take your time, evaluate the situation critically, and seek trustworthy advice if you’re unsure about the offer.
Sign #2: The offer is too good to be true.
If you come across an advertisement claiming “High returns with little or no risk – guaranteed”, you might feel like you’ve hit the jackpot. But this is usually a red flag – real investments ALWAYS come with some level of risk. Make sure you chat with a financial advisor or dig into the company’s details before parting ways with your hard-earned cash.
Sign #3: You’re asked to keep the offer secret or given “insider information” others don’t have.
We all like to feel special or like we’re part of an exclusive club. But if someone’s asking you to keep their “incredible” offer under wraps, they’re trying to keep you from getting a reality check from people you really should trust. Don’t be fooled—it’s OK to call it like you see it and ask questions.
Sign #4: You're asked to give financial or personal information over the phone, by email, or a website you don’t know.
If someone contacts you and says “We just need to confirm your information”, just don’t. Legitimate organizations won’t spring this on you without a good reason. If it appears to come from somewhere you trust, like your bank or government agency, contact them directly to confirm the request. Keep your info close and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Sign #5: There are errors in spelling and grammar.
This sign isn’t foolproof, and scammers are getting better as they start to use generative artificial intelligence in their scams. But it’s still a good rule of thumb to help you spot when something isn’t quite right. If you notice misspelled words or awkward sentence structures in an official-looking email, it might be a scam.
Keeping your hard-earned money safe isn’t only about smart budgeting or wise investing. It’s also about fully understanding the digital landscape and the sneaky tricks that scammers pull.
So keep these tips in mind, be skeptical, and ask questions to protect your financial health this November and throughout the year.