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Safe Banking

Stay safe from cybercrime in 2023

January 27, 2023
5
min read

How can you stay safe online when cybercrime is on the rise? We’re sharing the latest data on cybercrime trends, along with tips for how to protect yourself.

Hands typing on a laptop keyboard

As the world changes, cybercrime changes, too. Scammers are continually evolving their schemes to be more persuasive, harder to detect, and more financially devastating to their victims.

At Cambrian, we believe that one of the best ways to protect yourself is to educate yourself. That’s why we’ve put together this post—to help you stay safe online in 2023.

We’re looking back at cybercrime trends in the past year and what we can learn from them moving forward:

 

Cybercrime Stats in 2022

Just how prevalent is fraud in Canada? It’s more common than you might think.

The numbers are in. According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC), in 2022…

  • There were 56,352 victims of fraud in Canada
  • $530 million was lost to fraud
  • And there were 90,137 times reported cases of fraud

Were these numbers lower or higher than you expected? Unfortunately, this may be an underrepresentation of reality.

The CAFC estimates that up to 95% of fraud cases in Canada go unreported.

No one likes to admit they’ve fallen victim to a scam. It can be embarrassing to confess you’ve lost money because of fraud.

But by sharing this information (either by reporting it, informing your credit union, or talking about your experience with friends and family), you can save others from falling victim to the same scam.

 

Common Cybercrimes in Canada

Fraudsters play on your emotions to steal your information.

They send messages that make you feel afraid.

They create a false sense of urgency, so you rush into taking action.

And they send harmful links that, at first glance, may appear completely legitimate.

How can you protect yourself in the year ahead? We’re listing the most common scams you may encounter in 2023:

 

Tax Scams

Have you been contacted by the CRA? You may have received a message that claims you’re entitled to a tax refund, that you owe money, or that you’re being audited and must send your personal information.

As always, think twice before you send any type of payment.

The CRA will never contact you via text message. If you receive a phone call or email that claims to be from the CRA, don’t respond to it directly.

Instead, log in to the “My Account” page on the CRA website and check for messages. Alternatively, you can call the CRA to confirm their identity.

 

Phishing & Smishing

You’re probably familiar with phishing emails, which are messages sent by cybercriminals posing as reputable companies (such as financial institutions, popular subscription services, or E-commerce vendors).

And even if you aren’t familiar with the term, you’ve probably received a few smishing texts, too. Smishing attacks are just like phishing ones, but they’re sent via SMS messages (texts) instead of emails.

Phishing techniques can be incredibly clever and convincing—they aren’t always full of bad grammar and spelling mistakes. They’re used to steal your personal information, be it your bank account, home address, or login credentials.

If you receive a text or an email asking for sensitive data, be sure to confirm the person’s identity before you send it.

 

Social Media Scams

As social media becomes increasingly popular, so do scams that target people on these platforms.

The most popular social media scams include:

 

Investment scams

Get-rich-quick schemes are everywhere online. If you see posts about lucrative investment opportunities—ones that promise very high rates of return for low upfront costs—be skeptical.

 

Romance scams

More and more people are meeting their partners online—and scammers are taking advantage of this. It’s easy for them to create fake profiles that appear legitimate.

Be careful about what you post online. Fraudsters use information from your social profiles to send you targeted messages. Once they’ve established trust, they may ask you for money, or tell you to “invest” your money using a fraudulent website.

 

Online marketplace scams

Facebook Marketplace is used by millions of people as a buying and selling platform. But it’s also a hotspot for scammers.

One cybercrime on the rise is the puppy/kitty scam, where fraudsters post photos of animals for sale. Once the buyer contacts them, the fraudster asks them to make a wire transfer deposit—but afterwards, the buyer never receives the pet.

To avoid this scam, watch out for the following red flags:

  • Animals or products that are being sold for well below the average price
  • Sellers who encourage you to move the conversation to another platform (where it’s more difficult to trace them)

 

Ways To Stay Safe in 2023

When in doubt, speak out! Ask further questions. And remember: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Here’s what to do if you suspect you’re being targeted by a fraudster:

 

Take pause

You can often spot a scam by slowing down, taking a closer look, and asking questions.

That’s why fraudsters try to make you act as quickly as possible, so you override your better judgment and fall for their trap.

Even when the message seems urgent, take a moment to think critically.

  • If you’re on the phone with someone who’s asking for money, ask questions to confirm the identity of the person you’re speaking with.
  • Before you click a link in an email or text message, look at the domain very closely. Do you recognize the website, or was the URL altered in some way?
  • Even if you recognize the sender, their account may have been compromised. Ask yourself: “Is this a message I would actually receive, or could this be an attempt to obtain sensitive information?
  • If you receive a work email that urges you to click a link or send payment details, speak to the person who sent it outside of that email. Call or visit them in person if possible.

 

Reach out to us

Have you noticed any suspicious transactions on your credit card? Are you concerned that you or someone you know may be a victim of fraud? Let us know.

At Cambrian Credit Union, protecting the security of our members is one of our top priorities. Let’s work together to keep your personal information safe in 2023.

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