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HomePersonal BankingWealth ManagementSmall BusinessCommercialCorporate & InstitutionalAbout BMO

What to watch for

Staying current with fraud prevention

The Canadian Banking Association and American Banking Association offers monthly fraud prevention tips via e-mail. Find out what you can do to protect yourself by signing up today to receive their tip of the month.


Spyware is software that literally spies on you. It tracks your computer usage without your permission. The information can be as simple as the websites you frequently visit, or as complex as everything you type on your computer: your card numbers, account numbers and passwords. In serious cases, identity thieves can gain access to your private accounts through spyware on your computer.

Spyware can be downloaded onto your computer without your knowledge. Beware of installing software that offers free email virus protection or Internet acceleration, as these are typical lures for spyware installation. Be sure to run basic checks on software before downloading or installing.

Prevent a Spyware download

  • Read customer reviews of software before downloading it.
  • Never install a program unless you are certain it is from a reputable website/publisher.
  • Always run a virus scan on your download (if it is not automatic) before you run it.

Remove Spyware from your computer

Removing spyware is fairly straightforward—sometimes as simple as uninstalling the malicious program. There are also a number of security tools available to help you identify spyware, stop the installation of it on your PC, and/or remove it.

A Personal Firewall can also provide a helpful defense against remote installation of spyware by hackers.

Phishing Scams

Email Scams (Phishing)

Phishing is an attempt to obtain your confidential information by impersonating a trusted source through email communication.

These emails are very good at "phishing" for information. Watch our presentation "Don't Take the Bait" to protect yourself from this type of fraud.

How Phishing Scams Work

Don't take the bait

You receive an unsolicited email that informs you of the following:

  • Update to personal information is required
  • Contest won
  • Client cards or accounts have been suspended
  • Application for products approved
  • Account has expired
  • Some other false premise

From there, you are asked to open an attachment/link, or to reply to a phony email address. If an external link/attachment is used, the user is taken to a malicious site that requests confidential personal information (e.g., Bank Card Numbers/User ID, Account Numbers, PINs, Credit Card Numbers, Social Insurance Numbers, and/or Passwords). Never send personal identification numbers or other personal confidential information by regular email, as it is not a secure method of contact.

Protect yourself from Phishing emails

No legitimate company will ever ask you to supply sensitive information via email. Nor will they send you an unsolicited email asking you to login through a link or attachment.

A phishing email can be:

  • Designed to mimic the look and feel of a genuine company.
  • Poorly written English or gibberish text.
  • Sent through unsolicited emails, containing links or attachments.
  • The web address will often have the @ symbol or a numeric address (e.g., 123.456.1.2). The address may also include the word, phrase or text "bmo" to make it appear authentic.
  • The "reply-to" field has a completely unrelated address compared to the "from"" field.
  • The web address points to a site that is not related to

Identify Theft

Identity Theft is the criminal use of your personal information to commit fraud. Identity theft crimes are lumped into two broad categories: account takeover and application fraud.

Account takeover: Your bank account/credit card is taken over.
Application fraud: Your stolen identity is used to open new accounts in your name.

Protecting your personal information and monitoring your account activity and credit history regularly is the only way to guard against identity theft.

Many banks have automatic checks on accounts and credit cards that can potentially detect suspicious behaviour. Fraud detection systems trigger elements associated with your spending habits, location of spending and timing.

Identity Theft for Travellers

Being on vacation or otherwise travelling abroad takes you away from traditional security layers. Be sure to consider security risks associated with travelling.

Typical causes of identity theft while travelling:

  • Theft of electronic equipment (e.g., laptops, PDAs, cell phones).
  • Dumpster diving for discarded receipts/invoices/statements that include your personal information.
  • Shoulder surfing lets strangers discover your PIN while you use an ATM, or input your login information on a laptop/PDA in public.

Protect yourself while travelling:

  • Minimize the amount of confidential or personal data you carry with you. You can only lose as much as you take with you.
  • Employ all physical and technical means to secure the data you carry with you and be sure to use strong passwords.


I am not receiving Email, Email notifications any longer from BMO what should I do?

To ensure delivery of Emails be sure to follow these best practices:

  1. Login to your BMO customer profile and update your Email address with your primary Email address (the one you most frequently use)
  2. Once an initial Email is established, add the BMO Email address to your Email address book so that BMO is a trusted sender for your provider

BMO Financial Group is providing you with the information contained on these Security pages for your personal use only on the understanding that you agree that BMO Financial Group has no liability to you for providing you with this information, whether or not you rely on it. BMO Financial Group does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information. Links from this Website to other Websites, or references to products, services or publications other than those of BMO Financial Group, do not imply the endorsement or approval of such Websites, products, services or publications by BMO Financial Group.

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Don't take the bait

Don't take the bait video