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Canadians must remain on guard against fraud, identity theft: CPA Canada survey

TORONTO, Feb. 28, 2014 /CNW/ - A national survey conducted for the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) reveals that many Canadians are fighting back against scammers by protecting themselves against fraud and identity theft.

The 2014 CPA Canada Fraud Survey clearly shows that most respondents are taking action to protect their financial information:

  • 72 per cent said they always shred their banking and credit card statements.
  • 68 per cent stated they are very uncomfortable giving out personal or financial information through email.
  • 61 per cent confirmed they were very uncomfortable giving out personal or financial information on the phone.
  • 59 per cent stated they always cover the keypad when entering their Personal Information Number (PIN) at a retailer or a bank machine.
  • 60 per cent said they always check to confirm the shopping websites they use are encrypted when purchasing products online.
  • 56 per cent indicated they were very uncomfortable logging in to their banking or investment website using a public Wi-Fi network.
  • 51 per cent confirmed they notify their bank/credit card company when they travel abroad.
  • 49 per cent said they are very uncomfortable using their Social Insurance Number (SIN) as identification.

"It's heartening to see so many Canadians displaying an awareness of fraud prevention and taking preventative action, but they cannot let their guard down," says Nicholas Cheung, CPA, CA, a director at CPA Canada. "Fraud prevention requires continued diligence."

The survey also reveals that, despite these efforts, the incidence of fraud in Canada remains widespread. Nearly a third (29 per cent) of the respondents report being victims of some form of financial fraud and 43 per cent know someone who has been a fraud victim.

The most common types of fraud reported by victims surveyed were credit and debit card fraud (71 per cent and 28 per cent respectively) followed by, identity theft (seven per cent), email fraud and online fraud (each at six per cent) and fraudulent investment schemes (five per cent).

"People need to be vigilant, not only by acquiring the knowledge to spot and stop fraud, but also by reporting these crimes," says Daniel Williams, Senior Call Centre Supervisor for the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC). "The sad truth is that most cases of fraud go unreported and this benefits the fraudsters. If you have been a victim or suspect fraud, fight back by contacting us."

People can report actual or suspected fraud to the CAFC by visiting www.antifraudcentre.ca or calling toll free 1-888-495-8501.

In March, as part of Fraud Prevention Month, CPA Canada will be releasing a comprehensive, easy-to-use guide titled Protecting You and Your Money: A Guide to Avoiding Identity Theft and Fraud. The book is designed to help Canadians gain the knowledge and confidence required to take action to stop and report fraud.

The guide can be pre-ordered by visiting www.cpacanada.ca/financialliteracypublications.

The 2014 CPA Canada Fraud Survey was conducted by Harris/Decima via telephone between January 31 and February 23, 2014, with a national random sample of 1,015 adult Canadians aged 18 years and over and is considered accurate to within ± 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.  A survey summary report is available online at www.cpacanada.ca/2014FraudSurvey.

About CPA Canada

CPA Canada is the national organization established to support unification of the Canadian accounting profession under the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation. It was created by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) and The Society of Management Accountants of Canada (CMA Canada) to provide services to all CPA, CA, CMA and CGA accounting bodies that have unified or are committed to unification. As part of the unification effort, CPA Canada and the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada (CGA-Canada) are working toward integrating their operations.  Unification will enhance the influence, relevance and contribution of the Canadian accounting profession both at home and internationally.


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