Keeping the fraudsters away

Every now and then, stories come out in the news about kids who unwittingly rack up hundreds of dollars in purchases on their parents smart phone or tablet, by downloading or playing apps that automatically bill the parents' credit card.

Every now and then, stories come out in the news about kids who unwittingly rack up hundreds of dollars in purchases on their parents smart phone or tablet, by downloading or playing apps that automatically bill the parents' credit card.

And my reaction is always the same. Who saves their credit card information into the settings of a mobile device? If a three-year-old can inadvertently spend your money in this way, certainly a nefarious scammer would have no trouble deliberately accessing your credit if your device fell into the wrong hands.

As parents, we make sure to tell our kids not to give strangers any personal information—such as their name or address—either in person or online. But given the widespread incidence of fraud (nearly a third of Canadians polled in the 2014 CPA Canada Fraud Survey say they’ve been victims of financial fraud; mostly credit and debit card fraud) it seems we adults don’t always heed our own advice when it comes to protecting our financial information.

As a start, see how your fraud prevention efforts compare with those of the survey respondents:


72% shred their banking and credit card statements;
68% are very uncomfortable giving out personal or financial information through email;
61% are very uncomfortable giving out personal or financial information on the phone;
59% cover the keypad when entering their Personal Information Number (PIN) at a retailer or a bank machine;
60% confirm the websites they use are encrypted when purchasing products online;
56% are very uncomfortable logging in to their banking or investment website using a public Wi-Fi network;
51% notify their bank/credit card company when they travel abroad;
49% are very uncomfortable using their Social Insurance Number (SIN) as identification.

So, how did you do? Another big one in our house is to regularly review bank and credit card statements, to make sure there aren’t any surprising charges or transactions lurking in there.

What actions do you take to protect your financial info? Email us

About the Author

Tamar Satov

Managing Editor, CPA magazine
Tamar is a journalist specializing in business, parenting and personal finance. She blogs regularly in this space with advice and anecdotes on her efforts to raise a money-smart kid.

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