Fewer Canadians believe they're susceptible to identity theft: survey

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Equifax Canada is urging Canadians to check their credit card statements to ensure they haven't been victims of fraud.

The warning comes after a report that many Canadians don't believe they're not as vulnerable to this sort of crime, and don't understand the importance of checking their statements.

The report, conducted by Equifax, found that only 29 per cent of respondents checked their credit report to help protect their data, and only 39 per cent said they would report fraud to a credit bureau.

Additionally, despite the fact that 92 per cent of respondents believe identity theft is not a joke, fewer Canadians feel vulnerable to it compared to those who completed the same survey last year--this year only 72 per cent of respondents said they felt vulnerable to identity theft, compared to 80 per cent of those who took the survey in 2019.

Further, of those who use public devices such as ATMs and WiFi, only 44 felt vulnerable to having their identity stolen, down from 59 per cent last year.

Hackers, fraudsters and identity thieves are always on the hunt to get your personal information,” Julie Kuzmic, Director of Consumer Advocacy for Equifax Canada, said in a news release.

We can’t be complacent about this and one of the best ways to spot identity theft is by checking credit reports for unrecognized activities, which may provide an indication that someone has been applying for credit in your name or fraudulently accessing your accounts. I’m particularly concerned for younger adults who may be misguided in some of their beliefs and actions surrounding identity theft," she continued.

The survey also found many young Canadians were less concerned about identity theft and having their data stolen than older Canadians.

As well, women were more likely to be concerned about identity theft, as 63 per cent said they were concerned with the amount of time that it would require to deal with having their identity stolen compared to only 59 per cent of men.

Since 2017, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC), the cost of mass marketing fraud, which includes fraud by phone, the Internet, mass mailings, e-mail, and personal contact, has grown to $130 million per year--a 30 per cent increase.

More and more fraudsters are not only seeking access to victims’ hard earned money but also their personal information,” Jeff Thomson, a senior RCMP intelligence analyst with the CAFC, said in the same release.

While data breaches and phishing emails still remain the top reported attack methods, Canadians also need to remain diligent to not provide personal or financial information to unknown callers," he continued.

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