April 17, 2024

In recent years, the rise of deepfake technology has sparked widespread concern and fascination. Deepfake AI, powered by advanced machine learning algorithms, can manipulate digital content, including images, videos, and audio, to create convincingly realistic but entirely fabricated media. While technology presents numerous potential applications, from entertainment to artistic expression, its misuse poses significant risks to individuals, organizations, and society. Here, we explore the risks associated with deepfake AI and strategies to mitigate its harmful effects.

Misinformation and Fake News Epidemic

Deepfake AI has the potential to exacerbate the already rampant issue of misinformation and fake news. With the ability to create highly realistic videos of public figures saying or doing things they never actually did, malicious actors can manipulate public opinion, incite unrest, and damage reputations. Such content can spread rapidly across social media platforms, further blurring the lines between fact and fiction.

Political Manipulation & Election Interference

The use of deepfake technology in political contexts poses a significant threat to the integrity of democratic processes. Imagine a scenario where a deepfake video surfaces just days before an election, depicting a candidate engaging in illegal or immoral behavior. The repercussions could be devastating, potentially swaying public opinion, and altering the outcome of an election. Moreover, foreign adversaries could exploit deepfake AI to sow discord, undermine trust in institutions, and destabilize democracies.

Identity Theft & Fraud

Deepfake AI can also be leveraged for more personal and targeted attacks, such as identity theft and financial fraud. By superimposing someone’s face onto another person’s body in a video or using their voice in an audio recording, cybercriminals can deceive individuals or even sophisticated security systems. This opens the door to various malicious activities, including impersonation scams, unauthorized access to sensitive information, and extortion.

Erosion of Trust & Authenticity

As deepfake technology advances and becomes more accessible, there’s a growing risk of widespread erosion of trust and authenticity in media. With the prevalence of

manipulated videos and audio recordings, distinguishing between what’s real and what’s fake becomes increasingly challenging. This erosion of trust not only undermines the credibility of traditional media sources but also undermines public discourse and diminishes the shared reality upon which democratic societies depend.

Privacy Concerns & Consent

Deepfake AI raises profound privacy concerns, particularly regarding the unauthorized use of individuals’ likeness and voice. The ability to generate hyper-realistic simulations of people without their consent blurs the boundaries between public and private life, potentially exposing individuals to exploitation, harassment, or emotional distress. Moreover, the proliferation of deepfake content complicates the process of verifying the authenticity of consent in various contexts, such as in intimate relationships or legal disputes.

Steps You Can Take to Protect Yourself

Protecting oneself against the threats posed by Deepfake AI requires a combination of vigilance, technological measures, and awareness of potential risks. Here are some practical steps you can take to mitigate the impact of deepfake technology.

  1. Verify the Source

Before sharing or believing any content, especially if it seems sensational or controversial, verify the source. Check if the content is coming from reputable and trustworthy sources. Be cautious of content shared on social media platforms or websites with unknown credibility.

  1. Scrutinize the Content

Pay close attention to details within media content, such as inconsistencies in lighting, shadows, or unnatural movements, which may indicate manipulation. While deepfake technology is becoming increasingly sophisticated, there are often subtle signs that distinguish fabricated content from genuine material.

  1. Stay Informed

Stay informed about the latest developments in deepfake technology and the potential risks associated with it. Regularly consume news from reliable sources to understand how deepfakes are being used and the implications for society.

  1. Use Reverse Image Search

If you suspect that an image or video may be a deepfake, use reverse image search tools such as Google Images to see if the content has been circulated elsewhere

online. This can help determine the authenticity of the content and identify any instances of manipulation.

  1. Enable Two-Factor Authentication

Protect your online accounts, especially social media, and email accounts, by enabling two-factor authentication (2FA). This adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of verification, such as a code sent to your phone, in addition to your password.

  1. Be mindful of Personal Information

Be cautious about sharing personal information, such as photos or videos, on public platforms or with unfamiliar individuals. The more content available online, the greater the risk of it being manipulated or misused by malicious actors.

  1. Use Trusted Software

When downloading apps or software, stick to reputable sources such as official app stores or the websites of well-known companies. Avoid downloading apps from third-party sources, as they may contain malicious software designed to exploit vulnerabilities in your device.

  1. Educate Others

Spread awareness about the dangers of deepfake technology among friends, family, and colleagues. Encourage them to be cautious when consuming media content online and to adopt best practices for protecting themselves against potential threats.

  1. Report Suspected Deepfakes

If you come across content that you believe to be a deepfake, report it to the relevant platform or authority. Many social media platforms have mechanisms in place for reporting fake or misleading content, which can help prevent its further spread.

By following these proactive measures and staying informed about the risks associated with deepfake AI, individuals can better protect themselves and contribute to the collective effort to mitigate the negative impact of this technology on society.

Don’t forget to follow YNCUniversity on Instagram and Tik Tok for more Honest Money Talk tips and YNCU on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.




March 22, 2024

In an era where technology is advancing at unprecedented speeds, the dark underbelly of fraud is not far behind, constantly morphing into more intricate forms. Gone are the days when a quick pickpocket or a forged signature were the pinnacle of deceitful practices. Today, we find ourselves in a labyrinth of sophisticated scams that often go unnoticed until it’s too late. Let’s delve into how these deceptive practices have become a chameleon in our digital world.

Digital Deception: Cyber Fraud’s Metamorphosis

The advent of the internet brought with it a new playground for fraudsters. Phishing emails that once cast a wide net are now laser-targeted, masquerading as legitimate communications from trusted institutions. These cyber con artists craft convincing narratives using information gained from social media and other online footprints, leaving individuals and businesses vulnerable to attack.

The Alarming Sophistication of Financial Fraud

Financial fraud has also undergone a transformation, becoming a hydra with many heads. Where counterfeit currency was once the extent of financial deception, we now face complex wire fraud, CEO impersonations, and cryptocurrency scams. Each iteration is more nuanced than the last, leveraging cutting-edge technology and psychological manipulation to siphon off millions.

Identity Theft: The Silent Predator

Identity theft, once a cumbersome process involving physical documents, can now be accomplished with just a few keystrokes. Fraudsters use sophisticated software to hack databases, pilfering personal details to create false identities or take over existing ones. The repercussions of such thefts can haunt victims for years, as they struggle to reclaim their financial stability and personal reputation.

The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Fraud Evolution

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a double-edged sword in the fight against fraud. While it aids in detecting fraudulent patterns, it also serves those with malicious intent. AI-powered

bots can mimic human behavior to bypass security measures, and deepfake technology can create realistic audio and video to deceive even the most discerning eye.

Staying One Step Ahead: Combating Evolving Fraud

As daunting as the challenge may seem, there are strategies to combat the evolution of fraud. Staying informed about the latest scams, employing robust cybersecurity measures, and maintaining a healthy skepticism can serve as our shield against this ever-changing threat. This is where YNCUniversity comes in. YNCUniversity has loads of digestible information on fraud prevention for everyone to read, save, and share. As individuals and as a society, we must remain vigilant, adapt quickly, and educate ourselves continuously to protect our assets and our peace of mind.

If you know, or think, you have been a victim of internet scams, phishing or cyber-attacks, or your banking information has been compromised, we highly suggest you do the following:

– Contact your financial institution immediately and report it to your local police

– Report the incident to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre or the Competition Bureau at 1-888-495-8501

– Be sure to gather all information about the suspected fraud

– Report the incident to the financial institution that transferred the money (if applicable)

– Notify the website where the fraud took place (if applicable)

– Place flags on your accounts and check your credit report

Don’t forget to follow YNCUniversity on Instagram and Tik Tok for more Honest Money Talk tips and YNCU on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Phishing and Smishing

Phishing and Smishing

Phishing and Smishing

Think twice before you click, submit, pay, download, or reply! This type of phishing is not enjoyable.

Phishing describes fraudsters attempting to trick users into doing ‘the wrong thing’ – such as clicking a bad link that will download malware or direct them to a dodgy website.

Phishing can be conducted via text message, social media, or by phone, but the term ‘phishing’ is mainly used to describe attacks that arrive by email. Phishing emails can reach millions of users directly and hide amongst the huge number of benign emails that busy users receive. Attacks can install malware (such as ransomware), sabotage systems, or steal intellectual property and money. Phishing emails and text messages often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. You might get an unexpected email or text message that looks like it’s from a company you know or trust, like a bank, a credit card or utility company, or even an online payment website or app.

Smishing is a type of phishing scam where cyber criminals try to trick you by sending fraudulent SMS or text messages. They often pretend to be a real business (such as a bank or delivery company), a government department, or a person you know. During the COVID-19 pandemic, scammers have even pretended to be from assistance programs, like the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), to target vulnerable Canadians. Smishing messages will often try to get you to click on a link, which may contain malware or lead to a spoofed website. If you click on the link, cybercriminals can then steal your data, your money, or even your identity.

The message could be from a scammer who might:

  • Say they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts — they haven’t.
  • Claim there’s a problem with your account or your payment information — there isn’t.
  • Say you need to confirm some personal or financial information — you don’t.
  • Include an invoice you don’t recognize — it’s fake. Want you to click on a link to make a payment — but the link has malware.
  • Say you’re eligible to register for a government refund — it’s a scam.
  • Offer a coupon for free stuff — it’s not real.

Most phishing/smishing attacks create a sense of urgency in the message and encourage you to respond right away. They may send threats, like claiming they’ll close your account, or offer a time-sensitive reward, such as a prize for a contest you didn’t enter. But no text is ever that urgent — take your time when evaluating a potential smishing message.

Many phishing/smishing messages appear to be from a trustworthy and reliable source, like your bank or another business you know. Always be cautious, even if you think you recognize the business that the message is from.

To protect yourself from Phishing and Smishing use the SHADY? approach:

SECRET – Always keep your personal information secret, especially over email. Check with the sender by contacting them through another medium, like telephone, to confirm that they did in fact send you that email/text.

HOVER OVER A LINK BEFORE CLICKING IT – Hovering over a link lets you see where it points. Never click a link to any financial website, type in the address each time.

ATTACHMENTS SHOULD NOT BE CLICKED – Do not click on attachments if you are not expecting them. Even documents may contain a virus that can do damage to your device, track keystrokes, and compromise your information.

DIFFICULT PASSWORDS – Complex passwords help prevent people from hacking your accounts. Passwords should be strong, difficult to guess, and different for each system.

YOU SHOULD ASK YOURSELF WHENEVER YOU GET AN EMAIL/MESSAGE: Was I expecting this? If not proceed with caution or delete immediately.

? QUESTION – Always question electronic messages, especially if it is making promises or threatening action.

YNCU members, if you know, or think you have been a victim of phishing or smishing and your banking information has been compromised, please contact our Service Excellence Centre at 1-800-413-YNCU (9628).

You can also contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Center at 1-888-495-8501. Check out this video for more information on How The “SHADY?” Technique Can Help Prevent Phishing and Smishing

Ransomware: You’ve been hacked!!

Ransomware: You’ve been hacked!!

Ransomware: You’ve been hacked!!

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is software designed to deny or restrict access to your device or files until you pay. The general rule is don’t pay the ransom! There is no guarantee you will get access back, and paying increases the likelihood that you will be targeted again.

This tactic has been around for years and is on the rise. Often Ransomware targets places where the most sensitive data is stored – computer, network files, cloud or other storage locations etc

So what does it look like and how do you know you’ve been hacked??

There are two basic types of Ransomware:

Locker ransomware – completely locks out the device. The victim will receive a pop up indicating that they were caught doing something illegal and you have to pay a fine to regain access.

Crypto ransomware – encrypts files to restrict access. These encryptions are almost impossible to break.

If you have been hacked, what do you do?

Shut down your computer, disconnect any external media (phones, tablets, external hard drives) and bring it in to an authorized support center.

You can restore your files – as long as you’ve taken the correct steps to prepare ahead of time!

– perform regular updates – you can set up auto updates to run in the evenings/during the day when you aren’t using your device.

R – require virus scan of external devices before using them

E – execute software only if its reputable

V – verify all emails/ texts etc before clicking links

E – external storage to back up!

– never be without malware protection software & keep it up to date

T – trust your instincts and do a little online research if something feels off – often other victims may provide useful info online

Some interesting statistics:

On average, only about 65% stolen data is returned after the ransom is paid.

Nearly 30% of targets had less than HALF of their data returned.

Less than 10% of victims get all of the files returned.

Approximately 80% of Ransomware targets that paid the ransom were targeted a second time!

In 68% of cases that paid, that second hit occurred within the first month after paying, for a higher ransom.

North America saw an increase in ransomware attacks of 180% in 2021.

If you have been targeted by Ransomware Please reach out out to your YNCU branch team so we can help to protect you.

We will always be here to assist you! 1-800-413-YNCU (9628)

Are you under A.T.T.A.C.K?

Are you under A.T.T.A.C.K?

Are you under A.T.T.A.C.K?

Social manipulation, in the context of fraud, is the art of manipulating end users into providing personal or confidential information. Personal cyber-attacks come in many forms. Here are a few tips that can help you to spot them.

A – An Email

Phishing emails may look legitimate, but you should always question links, attachments, threads, or emails from someone unexpected.

T – Trick Websites

These are made to look like trusted websites but often have spelling or grammar errors or a slightly different URL. Farming the data from these trick websites allows criminals to gather personal details and record your keystrokes.

T -Text Messages

Social engineers will send you a text message about an urgent bill payment or some type of attractive offer. Also, beware of fake messages that appear to be from the government asking you to click a link to receive your rebate, return or payment. If you click these links on a mobile device message it could put your mobile phone at risk.

A – A Telephone Call

Fraudsters may call and say they are from Canada Revenue Agency, Canada Post or Microsoft, or maybe even your financial institution, and proceed to ask you to disclose personal information. Before going ahead with this, you need to ask yourself what valid reason would there be for you receiving the call and why would you provide those details if you didn’t initiate the call? If you still cannot determine the legitimacy of the caller, ask them to proceed via email because you cannot speak in depth at the moment.

C – Contest Winner

“Congratulations! You’ve won a big contest!” This message can come to you via email, text or phone. But did you even enter a contest? If not, it is more than likely an attempt by a fraudster to gather personal information from you. Do not fall for it!

K – Key Loggers

You’re browsing a familiar website and receive a pop-up of an offer that looks too good to be true! If you click the pop-up that social engineer may be trying to capture sensitive information.

When in doubt……..Hang up! Delete! Exit!

Social Engineering is on the rise. Watch for these signs of an attack and take these steps to protect yourself. Ask questions. Do not feel pressured into providing any information you may not be comfortable providing. Never share your ID, passwords, or any answers to your security questions. Use caution when entering sensitive information with websites that don’t begin with HTTPS or when something arrives that you were not expecting. Always remember to report anything suspicious.

YNCU members, if you know, or think you have been ATTACKED please contact our Service Excellence Centre at 1-800-413-YNCU (9628).

You can also contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Center at 1-888-495-8501. Check out this video for more information on protecting yourself against a cyber-attack.




August 1, 2023

Seniors are one of the most commonly targeted demographics by fraudsters – we’re even seeing this play out in our own branches!


  • About 10% of seniors are victims of crime per year.
  • 4-5% of seniors report some form of abuse from ages 65 up.
  • Financial abuse/exploitation and emotional abuse are the most prevalent.
  • Overall rates of elder abuse are similar in Canada, Australia, US and UK
  • Seniors are less likely to report abuse, and when they do, it’s often to health professionals, community groups, or their Financial Institution, not police.

When it comes to financial crimes, seniors are targeted in almost every way, including aggressive telemarketing, fraudulent home repairs, health or investment schemes, technology schemes, romance or urgent family schemes, just to name a few.


  • Home ownership.
  • A tendency not to seek advice before making a purchase.
  • Financial risk-taking behaviours.
  • Lack of knowledge of consumer rights.
  • Lack of awareness of fraudulent schemes.
  • Openness to marketing appeals.
  • Reluctance to hang up the phone on telemarketers.

Perpetrators use a variety of tactics that may hit on many of these risk factors to gain compliance. They will often try to isolate the victim, pressure them to act quickly, use fear tactics, and discourage the victim from seeking outside advice.


  1. BE SUSPICIOUS – Particularly of anything that shows up unexpectedly, including regular mail, emails, and messages through social media or text. Check email addresses and phone numbers, avoid clicking on pop ups or links in emails, and navigate to trusted sites by typing in the address rather than using a search.
  2. SLOW DOWN THE PROCESS – almost nothing will need an immediate response. You are allowed to take a step back and think about it, even for a few minutes, to ensure you’re not reacting out of fear or pressure. If you’re unsure, run it by a trusted loved one or your Financial Institution.
  3. PLAN AHEAD – ensure you have people you can trust set up to assist you when the time comes, making sure your wishes are clearly stated. Consider an advanced directive or Power of Attorney that can follow through on your instructions.
  4. ASK QUESTIONS – Does the scenario make sense? Are you familiar enough with the person/investment/scenario to make an educated decision? If you aren’t, run the situation by someone else before acting on it. It could be your advisor from YNCU or a trusted friend or family member, but a second opinion never hurts. If you’re being discouraged from seeking another opinion, this should be a red flag.
  5. KEEP UP TO DATE on active scams by reviewing the list of ongoing fraud tactics provided by The Canada Anti-Fraud Centre. They are explained in easy-to-understand terms and can give you a great idea of what to be on the lookout for.

If you would like to review the Crime and Abuse Against Seniors report from the government, click here or visit