Fraud – Protect yourself

March was dedicated to Fraud Prevention across Canada, but you can protect yourself all year long. Below are some highlights for the month. Check out these and more on the My StartUp blog.

Email messages to ignore

Fraudsters subject lines have become better, more believable.  They have gotten very good at having you believe their note really is from your bank, the RCMP or the Canada Revenue Agency.  For the best way to avoid falling for their line, read Your account has been closed! (and other messages to simply ignore).

Is someone stealing your refunds?

Retail establishments are one of types of businesses that suffer from return fraud. This might be a customer wanting to return a stolen pair of jeans, or they may say they never purchased from your online store but their credit card was charged. Check out our story to find out the key to minimizing return fraud.

Don’t let tabnapping or phishing leave you on the hook!

We’ve learned not to open e-mail attachments or click links from unknown sources – but what about e-mails that look legitimate? When fraudsters pose as a company, brand or e-mail address you recognize, it’s called phishing. Our article gives you the help you need to prevent phishing.

Each of these articles was written by a CFIB Business Resource Counsellor. Our counsellors help members with advice, counseling and support in dealing with governments and small business issues at no charge. Simply call 1 888 234‑2232.

Not a member yet?

Find out more:

In business two years or less? Sign up for My StartUp and get your six month introductory membership FREE!
In business longer than two years? Learn more about joining CFIB.

Don’t let tabnapping or phishing leave you on the hook!

By now we’re all aware of the dangers of opening e-mail attachments or clicking links from unknown sources – but what about e-mails which appear to be legitimate? When fraudsters pose as a company, brand or e-mail address you recognize, it’s called phishing. A play on the word fish, the perpetrators are fishing for someone to fall for their scam by sending e-mails (usually with a link to a website) purporting to be from a reputable company. They’re hoping to trick people into giving out personal information or making payments.

How to prevent phishing:

  • Make sure you have a spam filter on your e-mails
  • Look for tell-tale signs such as typos, grammar errors or poor image quality
  • Check the e-mail address – businesses and organizations don’t use hotmail or gmail accounts
  • Don’t assume people or businesses are who they say they are
  • Don’t give out personal/business information unless you’re absolutely sure of who you are dealing with.
  • Trust your instincts – if you’re not comfortable, contact the company directly to find out if the message is legitimate.

Now, look at your browser – how many tabs do you have open? And how long have they been that way? Using code, fraudsters can change the content and label of an open but inactive tab to look like the log-in for a bank, an online store, or even your e-mail provider. When you click back to the tab and find the log-in screen you assume the session has timed out and so you log back in – giving your personal information to the hackers. This is called tabnapping and it’s a more sophisticated version of phishing.

How can you stop it happening?

  • Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software on your computer – and keep it updated!
  • If you’re not sure of the legitimacy of a log-in site, close the tab, open a new one and type in the address of the site you wish to visit.
  • Keep an eye out for transactions in your name that you did not make.

Keep anti-malware software installed and updated, and always second-guess before sharing personal information to help protect you and your business from cyber crime.


Emma Speagell is a Bilingual Business Counsellor in the Atlantic Region, where for the past three years she has helped members with a range of issues from CRA audits, to Occupational Health and Safety Compliance, to finding a financing program to help grow their business. Emma enjoys being a helping-hand and a listening ear to our members, and loves hearing their success stories!

Is someone stealing your refunds?

When we hear of fraud we mostly think of counterfeit cash, or scam calls. We tend to forget about return fraud, and that is because we don’t necessarily notice it. Let me tell you, I have worked a lot in customer service and have witnessed my fair share.

Return fraud?

Retail establishments are one of the three business establishments that suffer from this kind of fraud (alongside banking and health & property insurance) (Canada, 2008). A customer may want to return a stolen pair of jeans, or might say they never purchased from your online store but their credit card was charged. If you fall victim to return fraud, you may have to face chargeback’s. The key to minimizing return fraud is to be aware of all transactions made face-to-face and online:

  • If an authorization is declined for the full amount, request another form of payment.
  • When processing a refund, process it on the same form of payment it was previously purchased on.
  • For any credit or debit return, compare the signatures on the back of the card and on the receipt.
  • Make sure your return policy is visible to customers at the cash, and is pre-printed on your receipts.
  • Accept store exchanges or make store credit part of your policy.
  • For online purchases made to your shop, ensure the address is accurate.

Who can help me?

You can submit a fraud report to your local police or to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. For chargeback’s you can contact the FCAC for guidance. However CFIB does provide help to its members who need assistance.

Train your staff

Make your staff aware of the following:

  • Organizing your receipts (weekly).
  • Train your staff on inventory; make sure it is done daily.
  • Comparing signatures when processing a payment or a return.
  • Accept only signed cards.


Cassandra Beaugé joined CFIB’s Ottawa team as the National Affairs Assistant in 2016. Behind every small business hides a human who may need help but doesn’t know where to begin. That’s why Cassandra enjoys giving a hand in Business Resource. She enjoys reading and is a fan of the WWE!

Fraud is everyone’s business!

Although March is dedicated to Fraud Prevention across Canada, CFIB is committed to fraud prevention year round.

Did you know:

  • one in five small businesses has been victimized by fraud?
  • small businesses, on average lost $6,200 to scammers last year per incidence?
  • small businesses spend an average of $2,900 on fraud prevention per year?
  • more than half of business owners impacted by fraud say the stress and hassle associated with fraud is worse than the financial losses?

That is why CFIB wants to create awareness about small business scams and provide you with fraud prevention tools that you can use. Visit our webpage for a collection of our extensive fraud prevention materials. Including….

  • Our research report Fraud – A big threat to small business that shares findings on how fraud affects the small business owner. Be sure to check out our infographic that features some of the report’s findings.
  • A free credit card fraud prevention poster that we encourage business owners to print out and share with their staff to limit payment fraud. We believe the key to preventing fraud losses is knowledge, awareness and staff training.
  • Videos we co-created with the RCMP on credit card fraud and small business phone scams.

CFIB cares about your business. If you have questions about fraud or want to help improve fraud prevention in your business contact our team of Business Counsellors by calling 1 888 234-2232 or by emailing us at


Jocelyn Rhindress is the Regional Team Leader of Business Resources for Atlantic Canada. In her more than six year career with CFIB she has answered thousands of member inquiries. She grew up in a household supported by a small business and understands the joys and challenges of entrepreneurship. Jocelyn thoroughly enjoys finding answers, solving problems, giving advice, and supporting members. She is proud to be a part of CFIB where she promotes the vision to be the most courageous, connected and influential voice committed to the growth of Canadian Entrepreneurs. 

Free Webinar: Fraud, Cyber Security and the Cloud: What your business needs to know

To celebrate Fraud Awareness Month 2017, CFIB has teamed up with Microsoft Canada to bring CFIB members and guests a free webinar. In this webinar, hosted by David Ludiciani, Product Marketing Manager, Microsoft Canada, we will explore 3 areas of cyber security: 

Part 1: Security Check-Up You hear more every day about cyber hacks and cyber attacks. But what are they, and what risk does your company face? To start off, we’ll show you why you need to think about security regardless of the size of your business.

Part 2: Demystifying Common Threats From phishing to malware, we’ll cover a variety of threats and the changing environment of cyber attacks. The threat landscape today is complex and creative, and the more knowledgeable you are, the better you can protect your most important assets.

Part 3: How the Cloud can Help Secure Small Business Adopting cloud software can transform how you do business, but it also carries more complexity and risk. In order to adapt to changing technology, start your transformation by thinking about security.

Join us for this free 30 minute presentation followed with a 15 minute Q&A session.

Space is limited so register today for your preferred date by clicking a link below.

Fraud, Cyber Security and the Cloud, what your business needs to know
March 14, 2017 @ 1pm EST

Fraud, Cyber Security and the Cloud, what your business needs to know
March 16, 2017 @ 1pm EST

Interac debit card fraud losses fell to record low

It’s Fraud Prevention Month, and keeping in that theme, we’re posting a lot of tips and information about nipping fraudulent activity in the bud at your Startup. Some of it can seem a little scary, especially for first-time entrepreneurs. We don’t want fraud talk to be entirely doom and gloom, however. So let’s take a moment to share some good news from one of our favourite organizations, Interac.

Interac Debit is a secure, low-cost payment acceptance solution for Canada’s small business owners and a convenient, secure, and easy way to pay for consumers. We know that small business owners care about their customers and want to provide them with fair and safe payment options.

A recent Interac survey revealed that two out of five Canadians are concerned about payment card fraud.  Good news for merchants and consumers alike: in 2014, Interac debit card fraud losses fell to record low, down a staggering 88% from 2009.  More significantly, fraud exploitation within Canada accounted for only 20 per cent, or $3.2 million, of 2014 losses to financial institutions.  Security measures like chip technology are forcing criminals to migrate their payment card fraud activity to international exploitation in non-chip environments and card-not-present (i.e., over the internet and phone) exploitation on credit cards and other networks’ debit products.  Additionally, with Interac Debit, merchants do not incur chargebacks and cardholders are protected from losses by Interac Zero Liability Policy.

We encourage small business owners to visit our site and learn more about how we remain vigilant in the fight against fraud on behalf of Canadian merchants and consumers. Learn more at