Don’t take the Bait; Beware of Cyber Phishing

In honour of Fraud Prevention month, MCSnet wants to spread awareness of cyber phishing attacks. We need to increase awareness of these methods that scammers use to compromise your personal and financial information in Canada.

Did you know that *41% of Canadians believe it is unlikely that their personal information could be compromised online? Since the inception of our dependence on digital devices and how much information is shared regularly through broadband, cyber security is more critical than ever. 

Canada has seen an increase in Fraud

In 2022, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) reported there were 91,190 reports of fraud with a monetary loss of $531 million. This is a 40% increase from $380 million in losses in 2021. These statistics are not increasing because of increased reporting; the CAFC estimates that only 5-10% of people report fraud.

The Government of Canada has seen increased phishing scams and fraud reports from known corporations and service providers. These frauds and scams target consumers and businesses.

What is Cyber Phishing?

To the scammer, the internet is an ocean. The hacker or scammer is “phishing” for victims online. Eventually, one unsuspecting victim takes the “bait”, just like in real fishing, and the hacker gains access to personal and financial information through a website or device.

How does Cyber Phishing work?

Hackers will contact thousands of potential victims directly through email, impersonating a known reputable company. If the hacker uses the phone method, they will, at some point, direct the victim online or remotely to access a device. 

Cyber Phishing attempts have been proven to pique a victim’s curiosity, distract the individual, and sometimes create fear. All to lure a victim and steal money or identity. 

The “bite” in cyber phishing is when the victim clicks on the fraudulent email, opens links, and unknowingly or knowingly provides personal and/or financial information. Hackers start the phishing attack when the victim takes the bait and will quickly gain access to personal and financial information.

Be Aware of Social Engineering

Social engineering involves *22% of data breaches. Social Engineering is a form of information phishing. Cybercriminals will get your personal information through research on search engines and social media. They will use these personal details to manipulate the victim.

To begin this fraud attempt, a cybercriminal will initiate contact with a victim through direct message, email, or over the phone and provide personal details to seem authentic.  These manipulators will skillfully trick the victim into giving cash for pick up in fake emergencies or by providing sensitive information such as passwords, financial data, and credit card numbers.

How to Stay Safe from Scammers

One of the significant ways to keep safe from hackers and cyber threats is to be aware of the creative tricks hackers use to collect personal and financial information. The more everyone can learn, the better prepared we will be to spot the bait. You can read our tips to stay safe online in our recent blog post.

Report a Fraud and Cybercrime

Anyone can fall to these scams and cybercrimes. Contact your local police service to report the crime if you or someone you know is a victim of fraud. It is also essential to report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online or toll-free at 1-888-495-8501.

If a financial loss did not occur, it should still be reported to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. If you have information about deceptive marketing practices, report it to the Competition Bureau. Your reports are essential to identify linkages, catch criminals, and prevent further victimization.

External Resources

*Percentage statistics above from Social Engineering: How Cyber Scams Trick Us

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC)

Get Cyber Safe 

Equifax: Credit and Identity Theft Education

Alberta RCMP Website

Saskatchewan RCMP Website 

Competition Bureau Canada Frauds and Scams Website

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre Twitter and Facebook

RCMP Twitter and Facebook

Competition Bureau Twitter and Facebook

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