Financial Fraud is something everyone should be concerned about. It’s something I thought I’d never have to deal with, and something I never really gave a second thought.
In the early morning hours one day during the Summer of 2010, we got a phone call from the bank that my husband’s bank card had been breached and his account was empty. EMPTY. Back then, I didn’t know that bank cards could be breached, and I had no idea that it was actually really common. I guess I lived a pretty honest life so I was naive to think most people do too.
While most Canadians do know and understand the basics of protecting themselves, financial fraud is increasingly more difficult to detect as it continues to evolve and becomes more complex and sophisticated.
My husband had to go to the bank and while the bank fixed the situation rather quickly and his funds were recovered; we knew we needed to start being more cautious and try to avoid another situation like this again as much as possible.
What had happened was my husband was working in a restaurant at the time so he would get off late at night and head to the bank where he would use the outside bank machines to deposit his tips and pay cheques. One of those bank machines had some sort of skimmer on it and copied the contents of his bank account and card. They were able to gain access and drain his account of all funds.
Did You Know:
Criminals can steal your actual credit card or obtain your card number, which they can use to produce counterfeit cards or get credit cards issued to them by making false applications using your identity.
That is one thing I didn’t realize. I thought for anyone to breach our bank accounts they’d have to have our actual card. We’ve never lost or misplaced our bank cards so they couldn’t ever get in right? Wrong!
Today’s fraud schemes look believable and often spark an immediate emotional reaction. From an e-mail promising a vacation to a phone call asking for banking details, fraudsters are not only digging into your wallet but also pulling on your heartstrings or trying to scare you.
5 TIPS TO HELP YOU STAY PROTECTED AND AVOID FINANCIAL FRAUD:
- 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.
When my husband’s bank account was breached I felt completely vulnerable. I felt like someone had come into my home and tore it apart. They stole money not only from us but from my children who depend on that money to eat, have a roof over their heads and provide for them. There is nothing worse than feeling like something you’ve worked so hard for was just taken away from you instantly, and fraudulently. It’s something I hope to never feel again, and hope others take the steps to never have to feel that either.
Remember to call your bank immediately if you suspect you are a victim of financial fraud. Thankfully our bank was already on top of everything as we had no idea this even occurred. I’ve made it a priority to check my account several times a week and stay on top of whats going on in my accounts.
According to a recent TD survey, 85 % of Canadians worry about themselves or their loved ones becoming a victim of financial fraud. When it comes to concern for their loved ones, more than one-third (37 %) worry that their elderly family members are too trusting and that their children are unaware of the risks.
Additional Research from TD Shows:
Canadian’s worry the most about:
- Their elderly parents, relatives or grandparents – 42 %
- Themselves – 20 %
- Their kids (all ages) – 16 %
40 % of Canadians say they should be responsible for protecting themselves against financial fraud. One-quarter (25 %) say their bank should be and One fifth (20 %) say retailers/service providers/business owners should be responsible.
The top three things that Canadians have done that could increase their risk to being a victim of financial fraud are:
- Applied for a random/unknown contest – 30 %
- Clicked on an unknown website link sent in an e-mail – 21 %
- Provided personal information to someone over the phone – 20 %
Although the breach to my husband’s account was a major problem and caused so much stress it was a blessing in disguise. It made us open our eyes and be more vigilant with our bank cards, accounts, and credit cards. Thinking it could never happen to you is the worst way to look at these situations — because it can.
Prepare and protect yourselves. Stop on top of all accounts, and pay attention to your alerts.
What steps do you think are important to take to avoid being a victim of Financial Fraud?
Disclosure: This post is part of the YummyMummyClub.ca and TD sponsored program. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. This post reflects my personal opinion about the information provided by the sponsors.