Canadians of all ages are at risk of falling victim to financial fraud as scam artists continue to find new ways to target and steal from their victims. However an alarming finding from the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) upends conventional wisdom that older Canadians are the most commonly targeted demographic.
The CPA Canada 2023 Fraud Study has found that almost two-thirds (63%) of 18-34 year olds have been impacted by financial fraud in some way; a staggering statistic compared to those aged 35-54 (39%) and 55+ (31%). Although surprising, this finding points to the fact that young Canadians may be more vulnerable to financial fraud due a general perception that they may be immune to such dangers.
The fact the young take a laissez-faire approach toward fraud is supported by another recent study, produced by Equifax Canada, finding that Gen Z and young millennials (aged 18-34) may fail to take identity theft and fraud seriously, instead perceiving them to be minor issues with little lasting impact. Despite the increased prevalence of fraud in recent years, surveys have found that this young demographic is still less likely to consider it a major concern, underestimating the potential long-term effects of becoming a victim.
When it comes to specific types of fraud, the CPA Canada 2023 Fraud Study revealed that credit card fraud (28%), email or phishing fraud (27%) and debit card fraud (26%) were the most prevalent. Unfortunately, many Canadians are not aware of the security measures they should take when using their cards online. These include being vigilant against phishing scams, regularly reviewing credit card and bank statements for fraudulent activity, and avoiding clicking on suspicious links sent via email or text.
The study also found that Canadians are increasingly turning to online shopping for their goods, yet only 42% receive email or text alerts for each transaction. Although these alerts are convenient, it’s important to remember that such notifications may not always provide sufficient protection against fraud and identity theft. If you are an online shopper, make sure to regularly review your credit card and bank statements for any suspicious activity and consider signing up for a service that provides additional fraud monitoring and protection.
Overall, Canadians should remain aware of the risk posed by financial fraud and take steps to protect themselves against it. By educating yourself on the latest scams, being wary of suspicious emails or text messages, and keeping your personal information secure online, you can help reduce your chances of becoming a victim, regardless of your age.