More than half of new Canadian families have been targeted by financial scams
Canada’s growing immigrant population is facing a rising threat from financial scams, with seven in 10 newcomers feeling more susceptible to fraud than the general population, according to a recent survey by Interac Corp.
Over half of the newcomers polled (53 percent) reported they or an immediate family member had been targeted by fraud. Fifty-five percent of respondents expressed significant worry about becoming victims of scams in the future. Scammers are taking advantage of the unfamiliar financial terrain that newcomers must navigate.
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The survey highlights that the top scams encountered by newcomers include fake job postings (40 percent), phishing attempts (37 percent), and scammers impersonating officials from government institutions (34 percent).
Rachel Jolicoeur, Director of Cybermarket Intelligence and Financial Crime at Interac, emphasized the need for collective action to enhance newcomers’ financial literacy and help them identify scams early on. “Newcomers want to feel in control, and most prefer to spend their own money versus borrowing. As they get used to life in Canada, we need to build their trust when transacting in new ways – such as using Interac e-Transfer or Interac Debit for the first time,” she said.
The survey findings indicate that high scam rates adversely affect newcomers’ financial confidence. Only 22 percent of newcomers polled felt strongly confident about knowing what to do if they fell victim to a financial scam. Furthermore, 56 percent of newcomers said being targeted made them feel less financially confident, compared to 36 percent of all respondents.
Addressing the need to bolster financial knowledge among newcomers, 73 percent of respondents expressed a desire to learn more about protecting themselves from fraud, while 83 percent stressed the importance of having tools to manage their spending effectively.
Interac, in partnership with Conscious Economics, has introduced one such tool called Mindfulness & Money for Newcomers and International Students, a digital learning program that offers financial literacy and fraud prevention techniques. The program, consisting of three parts, is available online and free of charge to all newcomers.
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