Mobile banking fraud is on the rise across North America

Mobile banking - Fraud Alert

Consumers are being urged to learn how to protect themselves against common types of scams.

Consumers across North America are finding themselves facing the risk of mobile banking from to an increasing degree, and victims of these scams are losing a lot of money.

Suspicious calls and texts on smartphones have become commonplace for many consumers.

Device users are regularly receiving texts and calls informing them that their accounts have been compromised or that they have experienced unauthorized charges on their credit cards. These are part of large and rapidly growing mobile banking scams.

Mobile banking - Mobile Scam

It is an issue that has become rampant throughout North America, and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) is struggling to keep up with precisely how commonplace mobile banking scams are. As of September 30, 2022, the CAFC had received 2,769 reports of phone calls from scammers identifying themselves as representatives of a financial institution. That number increased tremendously over the same figure from 2021, when it was 2,212. In 2020, that figure was a notably lower 1,147, according to a recent Global News report.

Phishing text messages as part of mobile banking scams have also seen dramatic increases.

The CAFC received 543 reports of phishing text messages related to banks this year. Last year, it was 394 reports, and in 2020, it was 347. It’s important to keep in mind that these figures only represent the instances that were reported to the CAFC. The center estimates that the total number is substantially higher and that only under 5 percent of the total phishing scams are ever reported to the CAFC.

According to law, business and technology lecture from the University of Toronto, Daniel Tsai, text spamming is allowing scammers to become more efficient and sly about the way they attempt to defraud their victims, which helps to explain why it is so commonplace.

“It basically looks like a legitimate text coming from your bank when in fact it’s a spoof (but) it looks authentic,” said Tsai. “So a lot of people who are not sophisticated may not recognize that it’s a scam.”

Consumers are reminded to be vigilant and always keep the risk of mobile banking scams in mind when they receive a call or text suggesting that there have been issues with an account. They are reminded to always use contact information from official websites or documents from their banks as opposed to the links or numbers provided through phone calls or texts.

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