Nearly Half (49%) of Surveyed Canadians Said They Were Recently Targeted by Fraud; Around 1 in 20 Digital Transactions in Canada Suspected Fraudulent in H1 2023, Reveals TransUnion Canada Analysis

Fraudsters in Canada increased their scams against Telecommunications (up 400% YoY), Insurance (up 90% YoY) and Online Communities (up 75% YoY) the most

TransUnion points to key tips for Canadians to mitigate risk of falling victim to fraud  

TORONTO, Sept. 12, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As consumers and businesses continue to use digital transactions to engage in commerce, fraudsters are increasingly using them for their own benefit. A new TransUnion® (NYSE: TRU) analysis finds that suspected digital fraud is up in Canada, and consumer-reported fraud is significant. According to a TransUnion survey conducted between April to July 2023, 49% of Canadians stated they were targeted by a fraud scheme recently. 1 TransUnion also found that digital fraud attempts, where the transaction originated in Canada and targeted global businesses, increased 40% when comparing H1 2022 to H1 2023. While digital fraud impacted all industries, telecommunications, insurance, and online communities (online dating, forums, etc.) had the largest increase in suspected digital fraud during that timeframe, up 400%, 90% and 75% respectively. 2

Among all industries, the suspected digital fraud rate in Canada stood at 4.5%, up from 3.2% one year ago. This compares to the global rate of 5.3%, up from 4.5% year over year. 2

“There are a number of important considerations to take into account when attempting to measure the impact of digital fraud on any one particular industry,” said Patrick Boudreau, head of identity management and fraud solutions at TransUnion Canada. “Certain factors must be considered, such as the overall size and rate of growth of different industries. Not only to contextualize fraud related data, but also to anticipate where fraudsters may continue to focus their efforts going forward.”

Insurance Saw the Greatest YoY Growth in Digital Transactions in Canada
While Retail had the Highest Suspected Digital Fraud Rate

Suspected Digital Fraud Attempt Rate Coming from Canada
H1 2023
Change in Number of Digital Transactions Coming from Canada
H1 2022 to H1 2023
Suspected Digital Fraud Attempt Rate Change
H1 2022 to H1 2023
Suspected Digital Fraud Attempt Rate
H1 2023
Change in Number of Transactions
H1 2022 to H1 2023
Communities (online dating, forums, etc.)3.8%-7.0%74.9%4.1%​-9.3%
Video gaming3.5%-17.7%3.2%7.0%​-8.5%
Gaming (online sports betting, poker, etc.)3.1%-30.0%-12.5%4.7%​85.3%
Financial Services2.6%-68.7%72.6%4.3%​0.9%
Travel & Leisure0.6%18.1%3.6%2.3%​16.8%

Source: TransUnion® TruValidate data

This new TransUnion analysis comes on the heels of its recent Q3 Canada Consumer Pulse Study, which explored, among other things, consumer awareness of being targeted by any online, email, phone call or text messaging fraud attempt in the last three months. The TransUnion Consumer Pulse survey of 1,000 respondents was conducted between July 10-20, 2023. 1  

The survey found that 43% of Canadians indicated that they had been targeted by fraud but did not become a victim of it, and 6% had been targeted and fell victim. Among those targeted, the most frequent fraud schemes by which they reported being attacked were:

  • Phishing at 47% (fraudulent emails, websites, social posts, QR codes, etc. meant to steal data);
  • Vishing at 43% (fraudulent phones calls meant to trick you into revealing data); and
  • Smishing at 41% (fraudulent text messages meant to trick you into revealing data). 1

Types of Fraud Canadians Said They Were Targeted With

Type of Attempted Fraudulent ActivityPercentage Among Those
Who Said Targeted
Money/gift card scam21%
Third-party seller scam on legitimate online retail websites18%
Stolen credit card or fraudulent charges14%
Identity theft (personal information like name, address, phone number or social security number stolen in a company’s data breach)12%
Money mule scam (solicited transfer or move illegally acquired money on behalf of someone else)12%
Account taken over (online account used without permission)10%
Unemployment fraud4%

Source: TransUnion® Q3 Canada Consumer Pulse Survey

“Given the prevalence of fraudulent scams targeting Canadians, and the reality that fraudsters are ever more sophisticated and are constantly evolving to attempt to overcome digital security measures, it’s critical that Canadians take steps to protect themselves,” said Boudreau. “From safeguarding sensitive information, to protecting physical wallets and cards, and leveraging credit report monitoring, there are a number of easy steps consumers can undertake day to day.”

TransUnion Canada Points to Key Tips for Canadians to Help Mitigate the Risk of Falling Victim to Fraudulent Scams.

  • Monitor your credit report regularly for any unauthorized activity.
  • Always reconcile your statements and immediately challenge purchases you do not recognize.
  • Limit the number of credit cards you have and cancel any inactive accounts.
  • Do not carry your extra credit cards, birth certificate, SIN card or passport in your wallet except when necessary to minimize the amount of information that can be misused if lost.
  • Install a lockable mailbox at your residence to reduce mail theft.
  • Do not discard credit card receipts or other documents containing personal information in a public trash container; use a shredder before discarding.
  • Scrutinize your utility and subscription bills to make sure the charges are yours.
  • Avoid the temptation to use similar passwords; memorize passwords and personal identification numbers (PINs) so you do not have to write them down.
  • If you think you may become a victim of fraud but there has been no reported misuse of your credit or personal information, you can place a Potential Fraud Alert on your credit file to alert potential lenders that you may be a victim of fraud and provide them with your contact phone number.

TransUnion came to its digital fraud findings based on intelligence from its identity and fraud product suite, TransUnion TruValidate, which helps secure trust across channels and delivers efficient consumer experiences. The rate or percentage of suspected digital fraud attempts reflect interactions in which customer transactions were either denied in real time due to fraudulent indicators or were determined to be fraudulent after a manual review process—as compared to all transactions it assessed for fraud.

Download the Omnichannel Fraud in H1 2023 Infographic for more findings. Consumers who believe they may be a victim of fraud can find resources and information here.

1 TransUnion® Q3 Canada Consumer Pulse Survey

2TransUnion® TruValidate data

About TransUnion® (NYSE: TRU) 
TransUnion is a global information and insights company that makes trust possible in the modern economy. We do this by providing an actionable picture of each person, stewarded with care, so they can be reliably represented in the marketplace. As a result, businesses and consumers can transact with confidence and achieve great things. We call this Information for Good®.

TransUnion® provides solutions that help create economic opportunity, great experiences and personal empowerment for hundreds of millions of people in more than 30 countries. Our customers in Canada comprise some of the nation’s largest banks and card issuers, and TransUnion® is a major credit reporting, fraud, and analytics solutions provider across the finance, retail, telecommunications, utilities, government, and insurance sectors.

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ContactAlex Wilcox