Younger Canadians have become the largest cohort to suffer from a fraud incident, a CPA Canada survey has revealed.

Canadians aged 18 to 34 accounted for 63 per cent of those who have suffered from a fraud incident at least once in their lifetime in comparison to those aged 35 to 53 (39 per cent) and those over 55 (31 per cent), the annual Fraud Study by Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada, revealed on Tuesday.

One reason the younger demographic is being targeted is due to their online financial exposure, the survey said.

Almost four-in-five of survey respondents who have debit cards said they used online banking (78 per cent) and another 72 per cent said they monitor and manage their credit cards online.

The younger age group is also twice as likely to make large purchases online (35 per cent) in comparison to those aged 55 and older (18 per cent), the survey found.

"Canadians, especially younger Canadians, are increasingly turning to online services and personal devices to carry out daily activities, making it more important than ever to safeguard private financial information," Doretta Thompson, financial literacy leader at CPA Canada, said in the release.

Less than half of respondents (42 per cent) said they use email or text alerts to get updates on their financial transactions, which the survey said would help alert them of fraudulent activity sooner.

“The more we're online, the more we're opening ourselves up to smart scammers, so extra diligence is required,” she said.

The leading fraud activity was credit card fraud (21 per cent), followed by email or phishing fraud (eight per cent) and debit card fraud (eight per cent), the data found.

Victims of financial fraud are advised by CPA Canada to contact their local police and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, as well as presenting all available information about the financial crime. Victims are also instructed to change all their passwords.

The institution also cautioned Canadians to use secure websites when making financial transactions and sharing personal information, while restraining from sharing their personal data on public or unsecured Wi-Fi connections. 

Methodology: Ipsos conducted the CPA Canada 2023 Annual Fraud Survey via an online questionnaire, from Jan 3 to 5, 2023, with 2,005 randomly selected Canadian adults, aged 18 years and over, who are members of their online panel.