There has been a lot of awareness generated about fraudulent activities that target seniors, usually with telephone calls, to get them to give up personal and banking account information. In a digital age, however, anyone who spends time online is a target for ‘phishers’.
Phishing is a form of fraud that is actioned online, where the fraudster(s) pose as legitimate companies in order to access financial information. Phishing is typically carried out by email spoofing or instant messaging, and it often directs users to enter personal details – account numbers, login details, passwords – at a fake website whose look and feel are almost identical to the legitimate one. (Wikipedia)
Personal attacks are most common, but more and more businesses are now being targeted:
Businesses aren’t being attacked by computers, but by people attempting to exploit human frailty as much as technical vulnerability. It is a strategy problem, a human problem and a process problem,’’ said Steven Henderson, who leads PwC’s Canadian forensic services.
Cyber-crime is on the rise, and all industries are struggling to defend themselves. In a recent study published by PwC, one in three Canadian business admit to being the victim of economic fraud of varying degrees.
Just like telemarketers phishers are virtually impossible to stop. So what should you do if you suspect that you are being ‘phished’? On the personal side, Gord Jamieson, head of risk services at Visa Canada states that “emails shouldn’t be opened, [and] they shouldn’t be deleted until after they’re forwarded to law enforcement, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at email@example.com.”
For businesses, the challenges to overcome phishing and cyber-crime are significantly increased due to the number of vulnerabilities – be it the people using technology or the software and online platforms themselves – within their systems and the fact that we have become so dependent upon technology for the daily execution of business. Tightening online security in the workplace, including adding additional layers of anti-virus and/or anti-phishing software and enforcing strict controls over internet access, is really the only option.
For more data on the impact of phishing on Canadians, please click here to read an article posted on www.globalnews.ca.