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Visa Canada finds younger Canadians taking risks with their financial information

Fraud Prevention Month survey finds young people oversharing, putting themselves at risk of payment card fraud

(Toronto, ON) – February 26, 2013 – A new survey released today by Visa Canada to mark the start of Fraud Prevention Month has uncovered a concerning trend among young people. A significant number of young Canadians who regularly post personal information on social network sites are putting themselves at unnecessary risk by mirroring similar oversharing behaviour offline with their payment card information.

Survey results found that almost half (45 per cent) of 18-34 year olds reported taking risks with their payment card information, such as loaning their card to someone or sharing their payment card information over email, phone or text. Individuals in this age group also reported the highest level of online sharing activities, including keeping an open profile on a social network site, posting to a social media site at least once a day, publically sharing photos, and posting their employment history online.

Among those aged 35 and older, a significantly lower number of respondents (32 per cent) reported taking risks with their payment card information. This group also reported less sharing of personal information online.

"While Canadians as a whole are becoming more aware of fraud risks, many are still engaging in risky behaviours when it comes to payment cards – and young Canadians are especially vulnerable because they are so used to sharing personal information online," said Gord Jamieson, Head of Payment System Risk. "But many young people don't realize they are putting themselves at risk for fraud when they share their personal payment card information, both online and offline."

Survey results show that oversharing financial information can indeed leave individuals vulnerable to fraud. Among respondents who reported engaging in risky behavior, 43 per cent had experienced some form of payment card fraud. Conversely, among those who had not engaged in risky behaviour, only 19 per cent had been victims.

The survey also showed that few Canadians are taking simple steps to stay ahead of fraudsters. Just 10 per cent check their credit report on an annual basis, only 17 per cent have set up alerts to monitor card activity, and most surprisingly, less than half (41 per cent) report checking their payment card statement more than once a month.

"Fraud Prevention Month provides a good opportunity to remind cardholders that simple actions can help prevent fraud and catch criminals in the act," noted Jamieson. "One easy step is to set up alerts that let you know via text or email every time your payment card is used. Check to see if your Visa issuer offers alerts, or set them up through our new digital wallet, by Visa to stay on top of what's being charged to your Visa card, in near real time."

To counter the culture of oversharing and help cardholders understand their role in preventing fraud, Visa Canada created an interactive "choose your own adventure' video, designed to entertain and educate cardholders about the choices they make with their payment cards.

"Everyday, often without realizing it, people make decisions that can either put them at risk of fraud or help keep them safe," said Jamieson. "What we've done with this video is create a fun, entertaining way to remind Canadians of the potential consequences of sharing your payment card information with a friend or posting too much information online."

The video, "The Concert", challenges participants to think about the choices they make around everyday behaviours with their payment card, and potential consequences. Available online at Visa Security Sense ( and on Visa Canada's Facebook page, the video reminds cardholders that they, too, have a role to play in protecting their payment cards. To follow the conversation on Twitter use the hashtag #GuardYourCard.

Visa's approach to fraud prevention is based on the belief that the best way to fight fraud is to employ multiple layers of security. Visa continually develops new technologies and solutions to help combat fraud, including Chip and PIN, Zero Liability and Verified by Visa. More information about these fraud prevention measures can be found at

Payment Card Fraud a Growing Concern – Additional Survey Findings

  • 56% say they are more concerned about identity theft today than they were five years; only 6% are less concerned.
  • 50% say they are more concerned about payment card fraud today than they were five years ago; only 10% are less concerned
  • 50% say they are more concerned about consumer privacy today than they were five years ago; only 7% are less concerned

About the Survey
Fabrizio Ward on behalf of Visa Canada conducted an online survey of major debit and credit cardholders. Interviews were stratified proportionately by geographic units to represent the national population of online cardholders. A total of 1,000 interviews were conducted from December 26, 2012 – January 2, 2013. The margin of error for this sample is plus or minus 3.1% at the 95% confidence interval.

About Visa
Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable electronic payments. We operate one of the world's most advanced processing networks–VisaNet–that is capable of handling more than 24,000 transaction messages a second, with fraud protection for consumers and assured payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa's innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products. For more information, visit

Media contact:
Carla Hindman
Visa Canada