Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

March 04, 2011 10:13 ET

March is Fraud Prevention Month: Beware of Phishing Scams

FCAC helps consumers protect themselves against fraudulent emails

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 4, 2011) - Canadians should remember that they are not alone when they surf the Web, and that others may be using the Internet for malicious purposes. As part of Fraud Prevention Month, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) reminds Canadians of the importance of protecting themselves from Internet and email fraud.

"Fraud can take many forms. Nobody is safe from it, not even the most knowledgeable consumer," says FCAC Commissioner Ursula Menke. One common form of fraud is called "phishing", where a victim receives a fraudulent email that appears to come from a legitimate organization, such as a Government of Canada department or the victim's own financial institution. The email instructs the consumer to visit a false website, download fraudulent content or provide confidential personal information.

With your personal information, such as your date of birth, passwords, Social Insurance Number, credit card or bank account information, fraudsters can use your credit card accounts or get new credit cards, and make purchases that you might be held responsible for. If your personal information falls into the wrong hands, you could even become a victim of identity theft.

How can you avoid falling victim to Internet or email fraud?

  • Never give out personal information over the Internet unless you trust the site you are on. Check that there is a padlock icon in the Web browser window and that the electronic address begins with "https://."
  • Open a single browser window at a time when using online banking, and don't forget to clear your computer's memory cache when done.
  • Never allow your computer to remember your passwords; change passwords regularly and do not share them with anyone. You can be held responsible for unauthorized transactions on your bank account if you are found to have divulged information about your account, such as your password or personal identification number (PIN).
  • Make sure your computer's antivirus protection is up to date and use the latest version of your Web browser.
  • Check to make sure that the Internet address provided in the emails you receive is related to the subject of the emails.
  • Access websites using the address bar. Never click on links provided in emails.

FCAC also publishes tip sheets to help Canadian consumers protect themselves against and prevent identity theft, credit card fraud, and fraudulent e-mails and telephone calls. In a video success story, Ken MacDonald, Crime Prevention Coordinator with the New Glasgow Police Service in Nova Scotia, offers some advice about preventing telephone fraud and identity theft. FCAC's publications and tip sheets are available on the Agency's website at moneytools.ca.

About FCAC

With educational materials and interactive tools, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada provides objective information about financial products and services to help Canadians increase their financial knowledge and confidence in managing their personal finances. FCAC informs consumers about their rights and responsibilities when dealing with banks and federally regulated trust, loan and insurance companies. FCAC also makes sure that federally regulated financial institutions, payment card network operators and external complaints bodies comply with legislation and industry commitments intended to protect consumers.

You can reach us through the FCAC Consumer Contact Centre by calling toll-free 1-866-461-3222 (TTY: 613-947-7771 or 1-866-914-6097) or by visiting our Web site: fcac.gc.ca.

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