Preventing Fraud

Even though the Canadian banking system is highly regulated and safe, financial fraud costs Canadians hundreds of millions of dollars every year. These crimes can happen to anyone at any time, but you can take steps to prevent them happening to you.

Top security threats

There are many ways criminals can access and use your information. These tips will help keep your money, identity, and credit rating safe.

Online and mobile fraud

Today, criminals can collect your private information through technological means such as phishing, “smishing,” malware and viruses. Their methods evolve quickly, and it’s important to stay up to date on new security threats.

Identity theft

Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in North America. It involves stealing another person's personal information, and then assuming that person's identity to access resources or obtain credit and other benefits in the victim’s name. If you see unexpected activity on your bank account or credit-card statements and you think someone else may be using your identity, contact your bank or credit union and the RCMP immediately.

Cheque fraud

Criminals can commit fraud by:

  • Counterfeiting: creating and using fake cheques for non-existent accounts and individuals
  • Forgery: stealing your cheques and forging your signature on them
  • Alteration: intercepting a cheque you wrote and changing the beneficiary or amount
  • Scams: posing as a legitimate individual or business that needs you to deposit their cheque in your account and forward some of the funds to them by wire transfer or money order.

Payment card fraud

Your card information can be collected illegally through "skimming" (magnetic strip compromise with hidden cameras to capture card data and passwords) and "shoulder surfing" (a criminal practice where thieves steal your personal data by spying over your shoulder as you use a an ATM or make a purchae at a point of sale terminal).


Scammers can be very smart, persistent, and credible, which is why thousands of Canadians and Canadian businesses fall victim to them every year. It often starts with an opportunity that’s “too good to be true,” but it always ends by jeopardizing your finances and your credit rating.