Rachel Jolicoeur has more than 20 years of experience in the payments industry, specializing in fraud management and money movement services.
She’s the Director of Fraud Prevention and Strategy at Interac Corp. and is responsible for any and all things fraud – including implementing effective fraud prevention programs, as well as strategic partnerships to mitigate fraud losses.
As a Certified Cyber Crimes Investigator and a Certified Fraud Examiner, Rachel works with law enforcement agencies, Interac partners, stakeholders and the general public to build awareness around fraud and inform all parties on fraud trends and concerns.
As we near the end of Fraud Prevention Month, Rachel sat down with Fintech.ca to discuss valuable tips on avoiding fraud that Canadians can use well beyond this important month.
What types of fraud or scams are you seeing most so far in 2023?
RJ: Throughout 2023 so far, we have seen a number of scams across the board, including rental scams, phishing or smishing, domain squatting, online marketplace scams, investment scams, employment scams and more.
The majority of the phishing attempts seek financial credentials in the form of an email or text (SMS attempt is called ‘smishing’) that looks like a legitimate company (“brand spoofing”). This results in victims providing their banking credentials, which ultimately leads to online banking account takeovers.
We have noted that most often, the brand spoofing appears to be from a financial institution, government agency, or major online retailers and requires a recipient to click on a link to access funds or provide personal and financial details.
In order to mitigate against these types of scams, we recommend that all Canadians be extra critical of any requests for personal information, and never enter personal information on websites linked from suspicious emails or text messages. It’s also important to remember to look for signs, such as spelling mistakes or lack of personalization which are a great indicator that fraud is at play.
What other areas do you track and what other scams are you seeing?
RJ: One scam which is prevalent in the lives of many Canadians is done through online marketplaces. These scams happen when an individual purchases an item on a site like Facebook Marketplace or Kijiji, for example, and sends digital payment but never receives the purchased item. The seller then disappears or claims the item (such as concert tickets) has been sent.
In these cases, it’s important to remember that when purchasing online, Canadians should never send money or pay a deposit for an online marketplace purchase without meeting the seller face-to-face in a public setting.
Additionally, when buying or selling, the receiver of the funds can confirm the transaction is complete by checking their bank account and look out for confirmation notifications in their own accounts or on their own devices.
Do you find that Canadians are looking for tools to help them detect fraud and scams?
RJ: We’ve found that there is a strong desire from Canadians to have more tools and resources at their disposal, with a recent Interac survey showing almost three in five say they would be interested in a tool to diagnose their data protection behaviour and provide personalized advice.
In that same research, we found that only 33 per cent of respondents claimed to know what to do next if their personal information has been stolen online – showing a gap in understanding.
At Interac, we can empower Canadians with the resources to avoid fraud and work daily to ensure this happens.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
RJ: Interac understands the importance of being on top of the ever-evolving fraud attempts and we truly believe that education is the first line of defence. We’re constantly working with our security partners to manage any digital fraud risks that arise, and to arm Canadians with all of the information they need to spot, avoid and report scams.
With that, we want to remind Canadians to remember the ‘3 S rule for fraud’ – STOP, SCRUTINIZE and SPEAK UP. The breakdown is simple. You should STOP and take a moment to think and follow your instincts. Then SCRUTINIZE and assess the situation and look for telltale signs of a scam. Finally, SPEAK UP, it’s critical to confirm the validity and report any concerns.
Canadians are encouraged to speak up by reporting fraud attempts to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre to help inform other Canadians who might fall victim to the same tricks. Afterall, the more fraud is reported, the more it can be publicized and protect more Canadians.