Where and When Canadians Feel Most Vulnerable to Fraud and Identity Theft

Canadians have been fighting back against fraud and identity theft. In advance of Fraud Prevention Month, Equifax Canada’s Survey found that in the past year, 94 per cent of respondents took at least one step to better protect their personal data. 

Despite efforts made by consumers to protect their personal information, 26 per cent also confirmed that they had been a victim of fraud or identity theft. Staying informed and understanding how these trends can impact your industry is a valuable safeguard to stay ahead of fraudsters. 


Canadians Feel Most Vulnerable Online

As fraud continues to change and evolve, so must organizations in their approach to fraud risk mitigation. Of Canadians surveyed, 78 per cent believe that social media poses a higher potential for fraud and identity theft through cyberattacks, scams/phishing, and data breaches. Almost half have noticed more suspicious or fraudulent links within their social media, and 18 per cent admitted they clicked on a fraudulent link in their social feeds.

Where Canadians feel most vulnerable to fraud:

  • 85 per cent said when they are online

  • 53 per cent said while performing everyday tasks “on the go”

  • 50 per cent said when they are on holiday

  • 28 per cent said at home

  • 27 per cent said in a store

An effective safeguard against fraud staying informed on the latest trends and how they can impact your clients and organization.


Varying Consumer Perspectives

The survey found significant differences in perspectives on fraud and identity theft vulnerability. Women were more likely to express feelings of vulnerability as a target of fraud in virtually every area. 

While Gen Z and young Millennials (aged 18-34) were less likely to view identity theft and fraud as serious issues and less likely to believe that the government should increase penalties for those found guilty of fraud/identity theft, compared to those aged 35 and over. 

Increased education and awareness of fraudulent patterns and activity are essential in protecting personal information. “Our survey highlights the need for increased awareness and protection against fraud, particularly for those who do not take this type of crime seriously and those in certain regions who may be less aware of the risks,” said Julie Kuzmic, Equifax Canada’s Senior Compliance Officer, Consumer Advocacy.


How Protecting Personal Information Can Help Mitigate Online Vulnerability

There are numerous simple ways in which consumers can help protect their personal information online. Some steps include changing passwords every month, only sharing personal information and photo identification with trusted institutions, and being cautious of suspicious links and emails. Another quick method to help prevent fraud before it happens is adopting two-factor authentication, a process of verifying a person’s identity by using an additional factor such as sending a PIN via email or text. 

“Fraud and identity theft are serious issues that can devastate people financially and emotionally,” said Kuzmic. Taking simple steps to protect personal information can help stop fraud before it happens. Kuzmic suggests that consumers explore ID theft protection products which can help detect fraud sooner by alerting them to key changes on their Equifax credit reports and scores. One effective way to prevent and detect fraud crimes is to check credit reports for any suspicious activity routinely. Consumers can request a free copy of their Equifax credit report by phone, mail, in person, and online. 


We want to help Canadians live their financial best. If you want to learn more about how understanding recent fraud trends can help minimize risk and reduce loss due to fraud, please contact your Equifax Account Representative. You can also reach us directly at 1-855-233-9226 and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn

This article is published by Equifax Canada Co.® 2023. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced, copied or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a retrieval system of any nature, without the prior permission of Equifax Canada Co. This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal or business advice.