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Canadians cite strong connection between social isolation and vulnerability to fraud - but the truth is, everyone is vulnerable

TORONTO, March 3, 2020 /CNW/ - According to a TD Fraud Survey released today for Fraud Prevention Month, a majority of Canadians believe social isolation and major life changes increase Canadians' vulnerability to financial fraud.  While fraudsters continue to target Canadians of all ages and life stages, only 13% of Canadians say they personally feel vulnerable about being a target for fraud.

"Fraudsters don't discriminate; they target Canadians of all ages and stages of life and absolutely nobody is immune to being targeted by a fraudster," said Tammy McKinnon, Head of the Financial Crimes & Fraud Management Group at TD. "While going through major life changes or being socially isolated can contribute to heightened vulnerability to fraudsters, it's vital that all Canadians stay vigilant, be aware of common scams, and familiarize themselves with ways to avoid falling victim to fraud."

Life stage can impact vulnerability
Canadians surveyed also believe major life changes can play a role in how vulnerable someone may be to fraud. Key life changes seen to make people more vulnerable to fraudsters include:

How Canadians perceive fraud risk
Survey results also found a strong disconnect between how generational groups feel about themselves personally and how they are perceived by others when it comes to vulnerability to fraud. Gen Z or students (29%) and Millennials (16%) are the most likely age groups to feel they are vulnerable or a target, while Boomers (92%) are the most likely to not feel personally vulnerable.

In contrast, widely held views point to older Canadians as being among the most vulnerable because of perceptions that they are less technologically savvy (72%), have more assets to target (51%), and because they're generally trusting (48%). On the other end of the spectrum, younger Canadians (Millennials and Gen Z/students) are most likely to be perceived as the most vulnerable because of perceptions that they overshare personal information on social media (44% and 52% respectively) or are too busy to realize they're at risk (30% and 44%).

Regardless of perceived vulnerability, financial fraud is widespread, with many Canadians having been targeted or affected by it. In the past year, nearly half (44%) of respondents believe they were the target of attempted fraud, including 39% who say they spotted and avoided it, and 5% who reported falling victim to it.

According to the survey, the most common methods of attempted fraud continue to be phone scams, such as a caller pretending to be from the Canada Revenue Agency (58%), and phishing emails or texts (56%).

"When it comes to fraud prevention, our message to Canadians is Recognize, Reject and Report fraud," said Jeffrey Thomson, Fraud Prevention & Intake Unit Manager, Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. "Recognize that criminals are using the internet, social media, the telephone and text messaging to carry out fraud. In order to reject fraud, we encourage Canadians to 'Take 5': stop and think before reacting & 'Tell 2': talk to family and friends about fraud attempts you encounter. Telling your story can be invaluable in helping others avoid being victimized. Finally, it's important to report fraud as this supports global investigations, disruption programs and fraud prevention messaging."

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre reports that in the first 31 days of this year, $4.2 million has been lost to fraud and over 2,000 Canadians have already fallen victim.

For Canadians looking to learn how to help recognize and reject fraud, TD offers the following tips and advice:

About the TD Fraud Survey
TD Bank Group commissioned Ipsos to conduct a national online survey of 1,002 Canadians aged 18 years and older. Responses were collected between February 4-5, 2020.

About TD Bank Group 
The Toronto-Dominion Bank and its subsidiaries are collectively known as TD Bank Group ("TD" or the "Bank"). TD is the sixth largest bank in North America by branches and serves over 26 million customers in three key businesses operating in a number of locations in financial centres around the globe: Canadian Retail, including TD Canada Trust, TD Auto Finance Canada, TD Wealth (Canada), TD Direct Investing, and TD Insurance; U.S. Retail, including TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank®, TD Auto Finance U.S., TD Wealth (U.S.), and an investment in TD Ameritrade; and Wholesale Banking, including TD Securities. TD also ranks among the world's leading online financial services firms, with more than 13 million active online and mobile customers. TD had CDN$1.5 trillion in assets on January 31, 2020. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades under the symbol "TD" on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges.

SOURCE TD Bank Group

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