‘Phishers’ target young Canadians
MONTREAL—Digitally-connected young Canadians have become regular targets of “phishing” scams—fraudsters trying to steal personal information for financial gain, according to a new survey by Visa Canada.
The survey found that 92 percent of respondents under age 35 confirmed they had been targeted by phishing scams for information such as bank accounts, passwords, card numbers, and social insurance numbers.
Conversely, scammers usually target seniors with a phone call at home, Jamieson said from Toronto.
Overall, 84 percent of the Canadians surveyed said they frequently received phishing scams and two-thirds said they would report them if they knew how.
The survey was released today in advance of fraud prevention month in March.
A separate study released by PwC, a global consulting firm, said less than one-quarter (22 percent) of the Canadian companies responding to its 2014 survey indicated they had been affected by cybercrime.
That was far less than more traditional crimes such as theft (58 percent) and procurement fraud (33 percent), and about the same as accounting fraud (22 percent).
But PwC said cybercrime may be under-reported because it goes undetected.
It also noted the spread of cybercrime isn’t strictly a technology problem.
“Businesses aren’t being attacked by computers, but by people attempting to exploit human frailty as much as technical vulnerability,” said Steven Henderson, who leads PwC’s Canadian forensic services.
“It is a strategy problem, a human problem, and a process problem,” he stressed.
Visa Canada said about a third of the respondents to its survey admitted to having fallen prey to phishing scams.
Unsolicited e-mails, text messages, mail, and phone calls that have a “sense of urgency,” and appear to require an immediate response or “your account could be closed,” are typical tactics of phishing scams.
“They want you to respond and they try to put pressure on the recipient of that e-mail to respond,” Jamieson noted.
Besides asking for passwords and account numbers, signs of phishing scams often include bad grammar and misspelled words, although the scammers are getting better at that, he added.
Fake e-mails can appear to be from banks, businesses, organizations, or credit card companies asking for passwords and account numbers.
However, Jamieson said banks and Visa don’t send e-mails asking for customers personal information.
“We know who you are.”
There are 156 million phishing e-mails sent out globally every day, he noted.
Jamieson said while e-mails shouldn’t be opened, they shouldn’t be deleted until after they’re forwarded to law enforcement, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at email@example.com, Visa’s firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com
Opening phishing e-mails can result in malware being installed on a user’s computer that can steal passwords when doing online banking, for example.