Equifax Canada: Budget Planning and Fraud Prevention ‘Top the List’ this Holiday Season
– Top Tips to Avoid Fraudsters and Identity Thieves –
TORONTO, ON, November 14, 2023 – Facing financial pressures, Canadians are planning to be more budget-conscious and security-minded for the 2023 holiday shopping season, according to a new survey* from Equifax Canada.
- 68 per cent of respondents said they plan to budget for holiday shopping this year, up from 57 per cent in 2022.
- Credit cards remain the preferred payment method for holiday purchases for most people (67 per cent); the number climbs even higher to 72 per cent for younger adults (aged 18-34).
- 44 per cent feel more vulnerable to fraudsters and identity thieves during the holidays, with 70 per cent saying they need to do more to protect their personal data, up from 60 per cent in 2022.
“The findings from this survey suggest people are taking steps to be more mindful of their spending and their personal information during the holidays,” said Julie Kuzmic, Senior Compliance Officer, Consumer Advocacy, Equifax Canada. “It is important to remember that you can take control of your credit and protect your identity at any time of year. Some simple actions like budgeting and checking your credit reports can help you avoid overspending and find potential signs of fraud.”
HOLIDAY SPENDING AND DEBT
In a recent survey**, 37 per cent of business owners expressed having less confidence about the 2023 holiday season than they did last year, while only 15 per cent expressed having more confidence.
Younger people (aged 18-34) are more likely to carry over holiday debt and regret their purchases (46 per cent and 38 per cent, respectively) versus people 55 and older (19 per cent and 13 per cent, respectively).
Shopping local is on the rise for the 2023 holiday season, with 61 per cent of shoppers planning to do so, up from 51 per cent in 2022. A 10 per cent increase in shoppers planning to shop locally could be a boon to small business owners, who are facing a challenging holiday season.
“It’s so important to support small businesses this holiday season, and beyond,” said Jeff Brown, Head of Commercial Solutions at Equifax Canada. “Small businesses create jobs, support local communities, and offer unique products and services that consumers value.”
PROTECTING AGAINST FRAUD AND IDENTITY THEFT
Of respondents in the survey**, 44 per cent said they feel more vulnerable to fraudsters and identity thieves during this time of year. Fortunately, most of the survey respondents are taking steps to protect themselves from identity theft, with 84 per cent checking their credit card bills for suspicious activity, 72 per cent using up-to-date antivirus software, 27 per cent purchasing identity theft protection products, and 87 per cent limiting the information they share on social media. Despite these efforts, 70 per cent agree that they need to do more to protect their personal data, up from 60 per cent in 2022.
“Fraudsters and identity thieves don’t take time off for the holidays, so it is essential to remain vigilant and to take steps to protect yourself,” added Kuzmic. “Be careful about where you shop and be mindful of the information you share online.”
TOP TIPS TO HELP CONSUMERS AVOID FRAUDSTERS AND
- Only shop with trusted retailers and be careful at the checkout
- Regularly check your credit reports and bank statements for suspicious activity
- Be careful about what information you share on social media and be careful about clicking on links in emails or text messages
- Use strong passwords that are changed regularly and two-factor authentication for your online accounts
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi to shop online
Visit the Equifax Canada website for additional tips to help you budget and protect yourself and your family against fraudsters and identity thieves.
*An online survey of 1,564 Canadians was completed between September 15-18, 2023, using Leger’s online panel. The margin of error for this study was +/-2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
** Equifax Canada commissioned Leger to conduct an online survey with 300 Canadian small (271) and medium-sized (29) business owners/leaders/decision makers within the Food, Construction, Retail, and Travel Industries. It was completed between August 28 and September 13, 2023, using Leger’s online panel.
At Equifax (NYSE: EFX), we believe knowledge drives progress. As a global data, analytics, and technology company, we play an essential role in the global economy by helping financial institutions, companies, employers, and government agencies make critical decisions with greater confidence. Our unique blend of differentiated data, analytics, and cloud technology drives insights to power decisions to move people forward. Headquartered in Atlanta and supported by nearly 15,000 employees worldwide, Equifax operates or has investments in 24 countries in North America, Central and South America, Europe, and the Asia Pacific region. For more information, visit Equifax.ca.