Young Canadians fall prey to online scams

Survey reveals 1 in 3 young adults victimized, despite digital prowess

Young Canadians fall prey to online scams

Despite being heralded as digitally adept, a significant portion of Canadian young adults find themselves vulnerable to online scams, a recent survey by TD Bank Group reveals.  

According to the findings, nearly one-third of Canadians aged 18 to 34 have experienced online fraud, with 41 percent specifically targeted on social media platforms. This rate surpasses that of older demographics, challenging the notion that digital nativity equates to immunity against online fraud. 

Sophia Leung, a fraud expert at TD, emphasizes that technological savviness does not safeguard against the sophisticated tactics employed by today's fraudsters.  

The survey, conducted from January 30 to February 4, 2024, with 1,085 Canadian participants aged 18 and over, sheds light on the increasing concern among young Canadians about their susceptibility to financial scams.  

A majority of respondents (62 percent) feel exposed to potential fraud, with 63 percent perceiving a rise in targeted scams.   

The anticipation of fraud attempts intensifying in the coming year is nearly unanimous among those surveyed, with 93 percent expecting an increase.  

Despite the rise in scam reports, the stigma of falling victim—highlighted by 43 percent of young adults reluctant to report such incidents due to embarrassment—suggests the actual number might be significantly higher.   

Leung advises against shame in these situations, advocating for heightened vigilance and informed defense strategies to counteract these threats. The persistence of underreporting underscores the critical need for awareness and education on fraud prevention.  

Despite efforts in anti-fraud education, young adults express concern over various scams, including job, investment, and cheque scams, with specific advisories issued against each type.   

The report also touches on the broader implications of technological advancements, such as artificial intelligence, in facilitating scam operations. A notable case involved a multinational firm in Hong Kong losing approximately $34.5m to scammers using AI for a deceitful video conference call. 

As of December 31, 2023, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre reported losses of $544m due to fraud from over 62,365 reports processed.   

Leung's call to action emphasizes the importance of reporting fraud incidents to foster collective awareness and bolster defenses against these evolving threats.  

This approach aims not only to mitigate individual risk but also to enhance communal resilience against the sophisticated landscape of online fraud.