PayThink

Institutions need to make consumers aware of emerging digital pay attacks

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It’s getting more difficult to spot online payment scams as fraudsters get more sophisticated. A recent public survey conducted by Interac found that while seven in ten Canadians believed they could confidently spot phishing scams, the majority of respondents didn’t know the safest option for dealing with them.

With rates of phishing scams on the rise, this discrepancy between perceived and actual ability is more dangerous than ever. In 2018, Interac took down 4,465 phishing sites designed to trick victims into surrendering valuable personal and financial information. It’s part of a growing trend away from counterfeiting and toward digital fraud.

There are several threats the issuers and payment companies should be aware of, and educate their customers.
Tax return fraud is one emerging type of fraud. Scammers often use fraudulent tax returns to bait their victims into clicking suspicious links or surrendering their social insurance numbers. This can result in identity theft, keystroke logging, and other breaches of personal information.

Consumers should be told to contact the relevant tax agency directly to confirm the email’s veracity or log in directly from the company’s public website.

As on-demand video has become more mainstream, so has impersonating streaming services. Often, criminals will send emails requesting that victims update their billing information by clicking a link and entering sensitive information.

If the URL link it begins with the acronym “https,” the message transmitted is likely encrypted, however, additional signs of legitimacy include the full web address, without additional inserts.

Fake money transfers are another common crime. Not every scam is as impersonal as streaming services and taxes. Hackers often impersonate friends and loved ones to steal money or personal information.

Consumers should be told to contact the sender immediately through another communication channel to save yourself from serious financial peril.

Scammers also often defraud consumers through phone calls and text messages. They’ll often imitate bank representatives to trick victims into submitting their banking information to a compromised web page.

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