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Maryam Saeed

Maryam Saeed

Head of Risk, Visa Canada

As digital payments increase, potential fraudsters get sharper and smarter. Visa is helping to protect Canadian businesses and consumers through technology and education.


The exponential growth of e-commerce during the pandemic saved many small businesses and gave consumers a safer way to shop.

As we enter a new phase of the pandemic, this trend is expected to continue growing. “In Visa’s Summer 2021 Installments Pulse Survey, 55 percent of Canadians said they will stay with e-commerce habits adopted in the pandemic, and we see that trend reflected in the payments ecosystem,” says Maryam Saeed, Head of Risk, Visa Canada. However, with the rise in e-commerce, fraudsters are shifting their focus to take advantage of this accelerated digitization. Saeed says there are three core components as we think about threats: data, consumers, and infrastructure.

“We’ve seen an increase in account takeover activities due to weak security hygiene by consumers, such as clicking on links in unsolicited emails, using the same password for multiple accounts, and falling victim to romance and phishing scams,” she explains.

Fraudsters continue to target e-commerce websites with digital skimming, using malicious code or enumeration attacks to gain access to payment information as well as ransomware — where fraudsters hold data and systems hostage for ransom. These activities remain a global threat with no signs of slowing down.

A trusted partner with the right solutions to minimize risk

Despite the complexity of this rapidly changing payment landscape, Visa’s payment ecosystem remains strong. Over the past five years, Visa has invested roughly nine  billion dollars ($9B USD) globally in multiple fraud detection systems to help protect cardholders and the payment ecosystem. As a global leader in security and fraud prevention, Visa vigilantly monitors this ecosystem for a wide variety of threats and applies a three-pillar approach of people, technology, and process to assist the ecosystem participants in identifying, mitigating, and preventing these threats.

As a global network of networks with access to insight on global trends, Visa is committed to sharing this knowledge and expertise with Canadian businesses and consumers. Visa also works as a partner within the payment ecosystem, communicating fraud events and recommendations to its issuers and acquirers to help protect cardholders. “We have a suite of products and services for our clients to help reduce fraud and prevent it before it even happens, and to combat against increasingly sophisticated fraudsters,” says Saeed. 

Take steps to keep your financial information safe

According to the 2022 Visa Fraud Prevention Survey, Canadians aged 55 and above are the most vigilant in their financial transactions, with 55 percent reporting that they’re more cautious than they were pre-pandemic.  

“Be cautiously suspicious when giving out personal information. It’s also very important to never disclose your PIN, banking login credentials or passwords. Common red flags in email phishing schemes are inaccuracies, spelling errors or missing information,” says Saeed. “Similarly, if someone calls you claiming to be your financial institution asking you to share personal financial information, either call your financial institution or ask questions to determine whether the caller is legitimate. By protecting themselves, Canadian consumers can continue being our partners in helping to protect the payment ecosystem,” says Saeed. 

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