If a recession hits, Canadians worry that fraud will be worse than the pandemic - a concern expressed by most Canadians in a new survey

·7-min read

More than one-third of adults under 35 believe fraud is something that happens to others, but not to them

TORONTO, March 24, 2023 /CNW/ - While fraudsters ramped up their efforts during the pandemic, many Canadians feel it will only get worse if a recession hits. According to the 2023 RBC Fraud Prevention Month Poll, 42% of Canadians think it will be harder to spot scams during a recession than in the pandemic and four in five (78%) believe a recession will increase everyone's fraud risk.

RBC (CNW Group/RBC Royal Bank)
RBC (CNW Group/RBC Royal Bank)

The research also found that three-quarters of respondents (75%) believe it's easier to fall victim to a scam when you're struggling financially, but more than a third (36%) are simply too worried about other things to be concerned about fraud. Also, 86% of Canadians are simply tired of having to be on the lookout for scams.

"It's understandable that people have a lot on their minds and don't want to think about fraud, but scams are getting harder to spot and fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated," says Kevin Purkiss, vice president, Fraud Management, RBC. "We've seen a strong correlation between increased fraud and economic slowdowns, which means Canadians need to stay vigilant about reducing their risk."

Missing the signs of fraud is costing Canadians money
While 77% of Canadians say their first instinct is to assume every e-mail, phone call or text from a company or organization is a scam, 67% say it's harder than ever to tell when an e-mail, text or online ad is a scam. Other significant poll findings:

  • 32% are concerned they are already starting to miss the signs of potential fraud

  • 71% worry it will be harder to spot the signs of fraud as they get older

  • 23% have been a victim of fraud or fallen for a scam

  • 18% report fraudsters have gained access to their personal or financial information

  • 14% admit they've lost money in a scam, with $400 being the average total amount lost

  • 6% have lost more than $10,000.

Apathy about fraud risk among Canadians 18-34
The majority of adult Canadians under 35 (58%) say sharing personal data online is necessary for convenience. More than half (53%) admit to sharing more information online than they should and 44% say they are quick to share personal data to get access to an offer, website, app or service. Thirty-five per cent also believe fraud is something that happens to others, but not to them, and one-third (33%) have never been worried about falling victim to a scam.

"The reality is that anyone can fall victim to a scam, even tech-savvy young Canadians," says Purkiss. "As we are online more than ever, it's especially important to be careful about the information we are sharing, as cunning criminals often look to piece together all the details to help make their scams more successful."

Purkiss adds that staying safe and protecting yourself from fraud starts with being aware of the risk and knowing how to spot the signs of a scam.

RBC provides four tips to help Canadians identify and avoid potential scams:

  1. Be aware that fraudsters may impersonate government or bank staff, law enforcement or other trusted people. Don't give out personal information to people you don't know and remember that your bank will never ask you to provide confidential information (e.g., account passwords, PINs, social insurance number) or other personal information through an unsolicited call, e-mail or text.

  2. Watch for calls, e-mails or texts that ask you to respond immediately. Fraudsters will often use a sense of urgency to get you to share information or click on a link or attachment.

  3. When online, don't enter login information or credit card details unless you are sure the site is legitimate. Red flags include poor grammar or spelling errors, a URL that doesn't match the company's main site or a lack of a security lock symbol in the address bar.

  4. When shopping online or on social media, if an offer, contest or ad is too good to be true, it usually is. Trust your instincts, ask questions, do your research and be extra cautious.

To learn more about how to protect yourself from fraud or how RBC works to prevent, detect and investigate fraud, please visit rbc.com/privacysecurity.

2023 RBC Fraud Prevention Month Poll

"Agree": All Respondents

CAN

18-34

BC

AB

SK/

MB

ON

QC

AC

Fraud will be worse during the
recession than during the
pandemic

66 %

66 %

64 %

69 %

69 %

71 %

59 %

62 %

It will be harder to spot scams
during a recession than during
the pandemic

42 %

44 %

42 %

42 %

40 %

45 %

37 %

43 %

The recession will increase
everyone's risk of fraud

78 %

76 %

78 %

78 %

73 %

78 %

80 %

77 %

It's easier to fall victim to a
scam when you're struggling
financially

75 %

80 %

77 %

74 %

75 %

77 %

72 %

67 %

I am too worried about other
things to be concerned about
fraud

36 %

56 %

31 %

31 %

35 %

28 %

56 %

37 %

I am tired of having to be on
the lookout for scams

86 %

81 %

89 %

91 %

85 %

87 %

80 %

85 %

Sharing personal data online
is needed for convenience

52 %

58 %

55 %

59 %

52 %

56 %

46 %

42 %

I share more information online
than I should

40 %

53 %

38 %

39 %

42 %

42 %

37 %

38 %

I am quick to share personal
data to get access to an offer,
website, app or service

23 %

44 %

22 %

17 %

23 %

26 %

22 %

23 %

Fraud is something that
happens to other people, but
not me

23 %

35 %

24 %

20 %

25 %

27 %

14 %

27 %

I have never been worried
about falling for a scam

26 %

33 %

29 %

21 %

29 %

27 %

23 %

28 %

My first instinct is to assume
every e-mail/phone call/text
from a company/organization
is a scam

77 %

74 %

79 %

83 %

72 %

81 %

69 %

77 %

It is harder than ever to tell
when an e-mail, text or online
ad is a scam

67 %

58 %

72 %

69 %

67 %

66 %

63 %

68 %

I am concerned that I'm
starting to miss the signs of
potential fraud

32 %

40 %

30 %

23 %

27 %

32 %

40 %

30 %

I worry that it will be harder to
spot the signs of fraud as I get
older

71 %

74 %

75 %

71 %

75 %

74 %

62 %

72 %

I have been a victim of fraud or
fallen for a scam

23 %

21 %

21 %

28 %

20 %

22 %

25 %

17 %

Fraudsters have gained
access to my personal or
financial information

18 %

22 %

14 %

18 %

17 %

17 %

25 %

11 %

I have lost money in a scam
before

14 %

14 %

13 %

15 %

9 %

14 %

16 %

13 %

Average total amount lost to
fraud

$400

$400

$500

$1,000

$200

$300

$500

$300

Lost more than $10,000 to
fraud

6 %

N/A

13 %

16 %

10 %

3 %

4 %

N/A


About the survey
These are the findings of a survey commissioned by RBC and conducted from February 15-17, 2023 among a nationally representative sample of n=1,504 Canadian adults (18+), balanced and weighted on age, gender, region and education. The sample also included a boost of n=500 Canadians aged 65+. For comparison purposes only, a sample of this size would yield a margin of error of ± 2.5 percentage points at a 95% confidence level. The survey was offered in both English and French.

About RBC
Royal Bank of Canada is a global financial institution with a purpose-driven, principles-led approach to delivering leading performance. Our success comes from the 97,000+ employees who leverage their imaginations and insights to bring our vision, values and strategy to life so we can help our clients thrive and communities prosper. As Canada's biggest bank and one of the largest in the world, based on market capitalization, we have a diversified business model with a focus on innovation and providing exceptional experiences to our 17 million clients in Canada, the U.S. and 27 other countries. Learn more at rbc.com.

We are proud to support a broad range of community initiatives through donations, community investments and employee volunteer activities. See how at rbc.com/community-social-impact.

SOURCE RBC Royal Bank

Cision
Cision

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