Close to One-Quarter of Canadians Have Clicked a Phishing Link

It seems that not clicking on that mystery email link in your inbox is easier said than done.

A new study from Interac shows that nearly one-quarter of Canadians have clicked on a phishing link of some sort, while 64 per cent reported they have been tempted to click on a link they weren’t completely sure was safe. While that Nigerian prince investment opportunity may look like a good idea, it’s usually a good idea to steer clear.

“As payment fraud increasingly migrates online through scams like phishing, the continued work we do with our partners to detect and prevent fraudulent activity has never been more important,” said Rob Fodor, chief data scientist and VP of Fraud at Interac. “It’s also why we feel strongly about arming Canadians with the information they need to spot, avoid and report any phishing scams they may come across.”

March is Fraud Prevention Month, so there are a few easy ways to set yourself up and easily avoid giving away sensitive information. Some are more or less common sense, like not clicking on links from senders you don;t recognize and looking for strange errors or typos in a request for information.

More in-depth information about the nature of online transactions can also help prep customers for potential fraud cases. Mobile wallets can’t actually access financial information, as they are often tokenized, meaning a new credit or debit number is generated that acts as a replacement for the physical card. Paying with a debit card online also creates a one-use transaction number so businesses or hackers cannot utilize it further.

“When you’re online, don’t click on any links or open any attachments if you receive them from a sender you don’t recognize. And trust your gut,” said Fodor. “If you weren’t expecting the deposit or money request notification from someone you know, contact the sender through a different channel to check if it’s real.”

Protecting from fraud also involves checking for odd purchases and transactions that could have been compromised in another way. Offline fraud is dropping, but as more companies are attacked and suffer breaches, it can often lead to leaked information without the user being irresponsible in any way.

Another thing to look out for is accessing private information on public wifi channels, such as a coffee shop or mall. The boom of e-commerce has led to more and more people becoming too lax with their banking and password information.