Protect yourself against these common internet scams

When it comes to banking online, it’s important to stay up to date on the latest scams to protect yourself.

Here’s a list of common internet scams you may encounter, and how you can help prevent your personal information from falling into the wrong hands.

Email scams

One of the most popular ways that criminals target people online is through email scams, which are typically set up as fraudulent money transfers or phishing for personal information. Another key signal of an online shopping scam site is hard-to-locate contact information. Consider it a warning if you're having a hard time finding shipping, returns, or privacy policies.

Money transfer scams

These scams will usually tell you that you won a lottery or contest, have an outstanding wire transfer waiting for you, or you got selected for a ‘job’ or ‘business opportunity’.

To make the email seem legitimate and trustworthy, the sender usually impersonates an executive. The catch? They’ll ask you to send them money first before you receive anything. Once the transfer is sent, the criminals don’t hold up their end of the bargain.

Here's how they work: you get an email supposedly from Manulife Bank telling you that an international authority has transferred $5 million to your account, but you’ll need to send $6,000 to a specified account to pay for transfer and procurement fees.

Personal information scams

By pretending to be a bank, familiar or trusted brand, or a government organization, these scams will ask you to reply with personal information such as your name, address, passwords, and account numbers.

Once they receive the information that they’re looking for, criminals can access your accounts and transfer money back to their own accounts.

Here's how they work: you'll get an email with a link to a fake website that looks like a login page for an email provider or a bank.

How to protect yourself

Manulife Bank (along with all other Canadian banks) will never ask you to provide personal information or transfer money through email.

When you get emails that look suspicious, check the email address itself to make sure that it’s coming from an address that you recognize. Manulife Bank will always send emails that end with “@manulife.com”, “@manulifebank.com”, or “@manulifebank.ca.”

If the email isn’t legitimate, delete it without opening any attachments. If you’re not sure whether the email is legitimate, call us at 1-877-765-2265 to speak to a real person.

Malware

Malicious software (or malware) is software that damages your computer, mobile device, or home network. This includes viruses, trojan horses, worms, spyware, and ransomware.

Once malware has infiltrated your device, it can change and remove your files, capture what you type, steal personal and business information, and even take control of your computer.

How to protect yourself

Only download files and attachments from verified sources. Always look at the URL in your address bar to ensure that you’re on a legitimate website. Keep yourself protected with the latest anti-virus and anti-spyware software. Don’t trust pop-ups that tell you that your computer is infected – as these may ironically install malware on your computer if you click on them.

Fake websites

Criminals often set up fake websites that look like real ones to steal your personal and banking information. Any information you enter on these sites can be used by criminals to try and access your accounts.

If malware is installed on your device, you can be even be redirected to a fake website when you try to visit a legitimate website – even when you initially enter the URL correctly.

How to protect yourself

Our URL will always start with “https://” – letting you know that your connection is secure and encrypted by us. Double-check the URL in your address bar to make sure you’re on https://www.manulifebank.ca or https://client.manulifebank.com.

In addition to these specific examples, here are a few things you should always keep in mind

  • Protect your personal information and keep your PIN private.
  • If something online sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Regularly check your balances and statements and contact us if there are any transactions that you don’t recognize.
  • Report suspected fraud to us.

For more basic tips on how to stay safe online and protect your identity, this blog post on staying safe online might help.

We’re here to help

At Manulife Bank, we take fraud very seriously. We’re committed to protecting your personal information and assets. We minimize the risk of fraud by using high levels of encryption, working with law enforcement and regulators, and reviewing each case of suspected fraud on an individual basis.

You can learn more about fraud types from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and fraud prevention from the Canadian Bankers Association.