Canadian Consumers Still Susceptible to Telephone and Internet Scams

National survey indicates need for better education on privacy and security:
differences between Canadian and American consumers

JANUARY 31, 2005 – TORONTO, Ontario � Many Canadian consumers continue to provide personal and confidential information over the phone and via the Web that could lead to fraudulent
transactions and even identity theft, according to a national survey.

The survey, commissioned by EDS Canada Inc. and conducted by Ipsos-Reid, indicates that when contacted by phone, 61 per cent of Canadians are willing to provide their postal code, 54 per cent will provide their address, 12 per cent will supply their account numbers and 10 per cent will supply passwords.

The results suggest that some consumers remain unaware of potential identity theft issues related to telephone scams and �phishing,� in which an email directs a user to a bogus Web site that is set up to steal the user�s information. These Web sites resemble those of legitimate organizations, such as banks.

�The willingness of consumers to provide such information is a significant concern. This indicates a susceptibility to phishing and scamming schemes, and highlights a real need for more consumer awareness and education about identity theft,� said Michel Brazeau, business leader for EDS in Eastern Canada.

Brazeau noted that consumers should never provide personal information in response to an unsolicited request, and added that the caller may not be from the organization he or she claims to represent. Fortunately, few Canadian consumers are willing to disclose information about their social insurance numbers (SIN) and credit and debit cards, indicating that consumers understand that doing so increases the risk of identity theft.

The EDS Canada Privacy and Identity Management Survey was conducted to evaluate Canadian consumers� habits, perceptions and requirements concerning identity management and the privacy of their personal information.

The survey shows that 10 per cent of respondents have been victims of identity theft or experienced a cyber crime resulting from unauthorized access to personal information. RCMP statistics show that the number of identity theft complaints across Canada grew by 63 per cent between 2002 and 2003, rising from 8,187 to 13,359.

The survey also revealed numerous trends that reflect Canadians� thoughts on security in an environment of rapidly advancing technology:

  • A majority of Canadians (86%) have an overwhelming desire to have their information properly secured if an organization can�t verify their identity, choosing instead to have their access denied.

  • Sixty-five per cent of Canadians would accept the use of biometrics such as fingerprinting or iris scanning as a way to verify identity.

  • Sixty-two per cent of Canadians support the creation of a single identification credential that would be accepted by all organizations. A financial institution was the overwhelming first pick to provide such a service.

  • When asked who is doing a good job of protecting their privacy, Canadians rated banks highest (77 per cent), followed by credit card companies (53 per cent ).

  • Canadians perceive that retail stores (three per cent), travel agencies (three per cent) and consumer electronics companies (two per cent) are the least likely to have proper privacy procedures in place.

Canadians and Americans differ on privacy

A comparison to the results of EDS� U.S. version of this survey conducted in September 2004 reveals startling differences in the perceptions Canadians and Americans have about privacy and the importance they attach to it. The differences include:

  • Canadians largely want biometrics for security while Americans covet it for convenience.

  • Canadians are much more skeptical of specific biometric options than Americans.

  • Canadians expect organizations to do much more to verify authenticity than Americans, and are willing to endure more inconvenience to ensure privacy.

  • Fifteen per cent of Canadians would allow an organization to use personal information to market products and services back to them, while 55 per cent of Americans would allow such marketing.

  • While Canadians seem to take far more precautions than Americans, more
    Canadians claim to be victims of identity theft.

�The results of this survey enable EDS to better understand the evolving privacy and identity management requirements of consumers, who in many cases are our clients� customers. With this new-found information, we will be in a better position to help our clients address their customers� requirements for privacy and identity management solutions,� said Peter Reid, global portfolio strategist for EDS Security and Privacy Services.

About the EDS Canada Privacy and Identity Management Survey

The cross-Canada survey was commissioned by EDS Canada Inc. and conducted by Ipsos-Reid, Canada�s leading provider of public opinion research. EDS Canada chose to sponsor this major market survey to assist its clients in the development of identity management solutions that fit the needs of its customers. The Internet survey received responses from 1,735 Canadians between January 13 and 17, 2005. The results are accurate plus or minus 2.4 per cent, 19 times out of 20. The survey also provides results for each of the two groups and by region.

About EDS Canada

EDS provides a broad portfolio of business and technology solutions to help its clients worldwide improve their business performance. EDS’ core portfolio comprises informationtechnology, applications and business process services, as well as information-technology transformation services. With 7,600 employees across the country, EDS reported Canadian revenues of $1.05 billion in 2003 With more than $20 billion in annual revenue, EDS is ranked 87th on the Fortune 500. The company�s stock is traded on the New York (NYSE: EDS) and London stock exchanges.