Canada Sees 40% Increase in Digital Fraud, Telecom Sector Hit Hardest


Recently, a survey led by TransUnion disclosed that nearly half (49%) of Canadians claim they have recently been targeted by a fraudulent scheme. The survey conveyed a staggering 40% increase in digital fraud originating from Canada, aimed at global businesses during the first half of 2023 – a significant increase from the preceding year’s statistics.

When analysing the sectors which experienced the most alarming rises in suspected digital fraud during this period, telecommunications, insurance and online communities led with respective increases of 400%, 90% and 75%.

Worrisome updates also reveal that Canada’s suspected digital fraud rate has escalated across all industries to 4.5%, an advancement from the previous 3.2%. This rate is also mirrored in a global increase, with a jump from 4.5% to 5.3% year over year.

Patrick Boudreau, the Head of Identity Management and Fraud Solutions at TransUnion Canada, reminds us of essential considerations when assessing the influence of digital fraud on the industry. He pointed out factors like the size and growth rate of various industries, emphasizing their significance for framing fraud-related data and forecasting where fraudsters might direct their efforts in the future.

43% of the surveyed Canadians, over a sample size of 10,000, stated having been affected by fraud but did not fall victim. Conversely, 6% of respondents reported falling victim to fraud following their targeting.

Regarding methods of targeting and the associated fraud schemes, 47% mentioned being targeted via phishing attempts, which manipulate users to steal personal or financial data through various digital mediums like emails, websites, and social media. 43% reported being targeted by voice phishing (vishing), which uses fraudulent phone calls to extract sensitive information. Simultaneously, 41% reported encounters with SMS phishing (smishing), which uses deceitful text messages to manipulate victims into sharing personal or financial data.

TransUnion suggests several precautions to evade fraudulent scams. These include regular credit report monitoring for unauthorized activities, not carrying sensitive documents when unnecessary, installing lockable mailboxes, exercising caution when sharing personal information, and confirming the requester’s authenticity.

Thorough check of utility and subscription bill legitimacy will prevent illegitimate charges. Also, using unique and strong passwords across multiple accounts and memorizing them instead of writing provides an additional layer of security.

The imposition of a Potential Fraud Alert on your credit file remains a wise course of action, even if fraudulent activity is merely suspected. This moves beyond prevention and equips your financial security with an extra layer of protection. This alert informs prospective lenders about the potential fraudulent activity linked with your data and provides your contact number to verify, fortifying your financial security.


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