Fraud-tervention: Identifying and Preventing Financial Fraud

85 per cent of Canadians worry that they or their loved ones will be a victim of financial fraud

Financial fraud continues to evolve; it’s more sophisticated, harder to detect, and takes advantage of people’s emotions like fear and excitement. According to a recent TD survey, 85 per cent of Canadians worry about themselves or their loved ones becoming a victim of financial fraud. More than one-third (37 per cent) worry that their elderly family members are too trusting, and that their children are unaware of the risks.

Debit card, credit card and cheque fraud are more common because of sophisticated approaches that target emotion as well as transactions,” says Mushtak Najarali, Senior Vice President of Everyday Banking Products at TD Bank Group. “Prevention and protection are key to fighting financial fraud, and so is the relationship between customers and their financial institution. Both parties working together is the best first line of defense to help identify and avoid financial fraud.”

Many Canadians know the basics of protecting themselves from financial fraud. In fact, less than 10 per cent will share their PIN or SIN with a stranger, provide their credit card number on an unsecure site, or click an unknown link in a text message. But as fraudsters become more sophisticated, they now try to trick consumers into sharing sensitive information like passwords, and bank account and credit card numbers. And there are a lot of ways for fraudsters to get this information, such as e-mails disguised as legitimate communications (phishing), communications appearing to be from a trusted source (spoofing), telephone calls (vishing), text messages (smishing) and devices (skimming) that steal your information.

When it comes to fighting fraud, consumers, businesses and merchants all have a part to play. “Regardless of size or sector, all businesses can take steps to protect themselves and their customers against financial fraud,” says Dennis Parker, Vice President, Business Deposits and Cash Management Services, TD Bank Group. “We encourage our clients to work closely with us to put appropriate safeguards in place for all aspects of their business that involve online, mobile and in-person transactions.”

As fraud schemes continue to become more sophisticated and play on emotions, here are some tips from TD to help fight financial fraud.

For consumers:

  • Pay attention to your fraud alerts – Banks are increasingly using text messaging to communicate with their customers. For example, TD Fraud Alerts are texts that notify a customer if TD detects suspicious activity made with their TD Access Card on their personal banking accounts. The customer can reply to the alert with a simple “Y” or “N” to confirm whether they recognize the transaction and TD will unblock or block their TD Access Card accordingly based on the response. TD will never ask a customer to reply to a Fraud Alert text with any personal information or ask customers to click on any links in their reply.
  • Protect your PIN and guard your cheques – The only person who should know your PIN is you – not even your bank knows it. Don’t ever give out your PIN, whether in person, over the phone, online or by mail. You should also never leave your cheques unattended and if your chequebook is lost or stolen, call your bank immediately.
  • Don’t be fooled by phishing – Exercise caution when receiving unsolicited e-mails containing attachments or asking you to click a link and provide sensitive information. Banks will not ask you to provide personal information, or login information such as usernames, passwords, PINs, security questions and answers, or account numbers, through unsolicited e-mail.
  • Verify if it’s real – If you receive an unexpected and too-good-to-be-true cheque, chances are it may be fraudulent. It’s always important to know who you’re doing business with.
  • Check your statements, online accounts or banking apps regularly – This will alert you to fraudulent transactions more quickly. Money management apps, like the TD MySpend app, can be helpful tools since they help TD customers to be aware of certain types of transactions on eligible TD accounts and credit cards. The TD MySpend app provides notifications of spend transactions in real-time, which helps make it easy for customers to recognize a fraudulent purchase quickly.

For businesses:

  • Daily reconciliation – Reconcile all your business banking transactions daily. This data can be quickly and easily accessed online and will give you same day insights into your accounts.
  • Cheque your etiquette – Cheque fraud has been around for many years, so it’s important to take steps to help prevent it from impacting your business: centralize cheque issuing, use the latest security features on cheques like chemical protection, padlock icons and always use Magnetic Ink Character Recognition Serial Numbers (MICR) on business cheques.
  • Validate payment instructions – Exercise caution when receiving e-mails containing instructions appearing to be from, or on behalf of, an executive that requests urgent processing of a wire transfer. Verify such requests through another channel to confirm authenticity.
  • Check your surroundings – Inspect Point of Sale equipment regularly including serial numbers, wires and cables. If any equipment looks unfamiliar, appears altered, or is missing, notify your merchant solutions provider immediately. Check ceilings, walls or shelves near PIN pads for holes that could conceal a small camera. Install debit terminals so that customers have enough room to comfortably shield the PIN pad when entering their PIN number. The most common way of stealing a cardholder’s PIN is by “shoulder surfing” – looking over the cardholder’s shoulder. Make sure that any security cameras on the premises don’t capture customers entering their PIN.
  • Verify your online transactions – To help protect your business from fraudulent online transactions, be sure to monitor your account activity and take advantage of security features available from the payment networks. These include things like using available CVV validation or billing address verification services. Use of Verified by Visa® or MasterCard® SecureCode services are also highly recommended for ecommerce merchants to add an extra level of security, and can provide greater protection from fraud-related chargebacks.

Author: Dylan Jones

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