Canadian Security Magazine

Majority of Canadians admit to sharing security passwords with family or friends

By CS Staff   

News Data Security Fraud Prevention Month rbc RBC Fraud Prevention Poll

During Fraud Prevention Month learn more about what can be done to keep your PIN and Passwords safe

According to the RBC Fraud Prevention Poll, 55% of Canadians have admitted they’ve shared their banking PIN or passwords with others. Despite the fact that there can be serious implications if your PIN or password is compromised, 41% of Canadians have done one or more the following things that could compromise their security:

  • Used the same phone unlock code as their bank PIN
  • Used their birthday as their bank PIN
  • Kept their PIN written down in their wallet
  • Used the last 4 digits of their phone number as their PIN
  • Used the word PASSWORD as a password for websites
  • Set their debit or credit card PIN to something easy like 1234 or 5555
  • Have written their PIN on their debit or credit card

“You should always protect your PIN and passwords and choose one that follows security best practices,” said RBC Vice-President, Fraud Management, Jason Storsley. “In the wrong hands, this information could be detrimental to your financial security. Think of it as leaving your house key in the lock, yet expecting that you are protected.”

PINs and passwords act as electronic signatures to identify you as the authorized user of your banking products and services, such as your debit card, credit card and online banking. When used in combination with the corresponding card or account number, PINs and passwords provide you with access to your money and account information. Canadians who do not protect this information are leaving themselves vulnerable to fraud.

For Fraud Prevention Month, RBC has the following tips to help Canadians reduce their chances of falling victim to fraud.

How to choose your PIN

Choose a PIN with numbers and/or letters you can easily remember, but avoid numbers and letters that others might guess, such as your birth date, phone number, address or SIN. Do not write down your PIN or store it electronically and do not disclose it to anyone including your bank, law enforcement agencies, friends or family.

How to protect your PIN
Protecting a PIN is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself against scams and fraud.

  • When conducting a transaction, keep your card within sight and always shield the PIN pad while you enter your PIN.
  • Change your PIN from time to time and never share it, even with family or friends.
  • If you need someone (e.g. a family member, friend, associate, caregiver) to perform banking activities on your behalf, speak with your banking representative about options other than sharing your PIN.
  • If you suspect that your PIN has been compromised, change it immediately at your nearest bank branch.
  • Be vigilant against phishing scams, where fraudsters impersonate your bank or another company and ask you to disclose your PIN or password. RBC would never ask you what your PIN or password is online or over the phone.
  • If you suspect your personal information has been compromised, contact your bank.

How to choose strong and effective passwords

  • Choose passwords that are difficult for others to guess, but easy for you to remember.
  • Complexity is nice, but length is key. Always use the maximum password length allowed by the application. Aim for at least 16 characters if possible.
  • Avoid common words like “password” or “user”, obvious sequences of letters or numbers like “1234” or “ABCD” or anything that can be easily guessed like your birthday.
  • Be creative. Some of the strongest passwords aren’t words, but a collection of words or “passphrases.” Passphrases are made of randomly chosen words. Here are some examples: “Delay Elephant Buy” or “Europe Profit Now.”
  • Replacing some letters with spaces, numbers or special characters – for example, @ replaces an “A” or $ replaces an “S” – can help increase the strength of your password. But don’t rely on obvious substitutions, like substituting an “o” with a “0” – for example, “H0use” instead of “House.”

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