top of page

OwlSense (Capstone Project)

January 2019 - April 2019

In our last term of our final year, we were asked "how can we make Canadian's better off financially?" by Scotiabank Digital Factory. Myself, and four other GBDA students came up with OwlSense. View our InVision prototype here.

Team: Kimly Truong (myself), Krisika Suthan, Esther Lee, Peter Jiahao Lin, and Tameika Elliott. 

My Role(s): User Researcher & Tester, Visual Designer, Writer

Tools: Adobe InDesign, Sketch, Google Scholar

* I will introduce the project, and discuss my role in this. 

What is OwlSense?

OwlSense focuses on financial security with the aspects of Hybrid-AI Fraud Detection with the unique feature of a public community forum and a web plug-in. The community forum is free for all users to submit reports of any scams or fraud they've encountered in order to prevent it happening to other users, whereas the plug-in is subscription based and can detect and notify the user of potential fraud through their internet browser. 


Brand Colours


Gotham Medium: Headings & Buttons (stylized in all capitals i.e. BUTTON)

Gotham Book: Subheadings & Body Text


OwlSense Logo.png

official OwlSense logo design by Peter Lin

User Research

We began our user research by conducting interviews with people we know who have encountered or have been affected by scams, that way we can see what overlaps, what is unique to that person and how can we integrate these into our product or service? We also asked them the unique question of "do you trust your bank, or Google more?

These are some of the notes from the interviews I conducted:

User 1 (Late 40s, affected): 

  • Targeted on three separate occasions

    • Similar to the Nigerian Prince Scam​

    • A false job opportunity in Columbia

    • A false job opportunity to start a business in Asia

  • Lost a cumulative of $20 000+

  • Comfortable with technology to an extent​​

  • No services has their personal information

  • Considers anything that can identify them to be personal

  • Does not shop online, will only go in store for safety 

  • Would not use a service again if it was not reliable

  • Trusts banks more.

User 3 (Early 20s, encountered):

  • Has encountered Instagram Scams (False ambassador programs)

  • Comfortable with technology

  • Considers address and phone number as personal information

  • Outside of major services, e-commerce sites has their information for faster checkouts

  • Prefers to use PayPal over inputting their CC information

  • Uses Incognito Mode on their browser if needed

  • Would be hesitant to use a service if it has failed them in the past

  • Trusts banks more, Google has too much of their own information. 

User 2 (Early 20s, encountered):

  • Encountered the IRS Scam

  • Comfortable with technology

  • Considers anything that can identify them as personal information

  • Many services has their information, does not use a service to protect data

  • Keeps CC information in autofill or quick fill

  • Does not pick up any strange phone calls, will google the number instead

  • If the service was negligent and leaked personal information, they would
    not use it again.

  • Trusts banks more, you pay for the service, but with Google, you're the


I wanted to gather more intel on the procedure for reporting a scam in the cities Guelph and Kitchener-Waterloo. I chose these two areas because I already had a few Guelph Police contacts from growing up in this city, and all of us lived in Kitchener-Waterloo full time for school.


Some notable things from my email exchanges ​with the officers/detectives were:

  • "The only way to prevent people online or in general in regards to fraud, is education" - Officer of 11 years

  • "If it sounds too good to be true, it ain't" - Officer of 32 years

  • In Guelph, one person lost $100,000 in just 3 weeks due to a romance oriented scam

  • One of the most common instances for fraud is actually in person. The suspect will attempt to open the victim's bank account or obtain other services using the victims ID. 

  • Other common scams are romance scams, cheque washing scams and internal thefts. 

    • Romance scams: people are targeted on dating sites by fake accounts who prey on the vulnerability of people. They will start an online relationship with the victim and progress to phone calls/emails/texts. The fake account will also attempt to strengthen the bond of trust with the victim by including a mother or a daughter in their storyline. As their trust builds, the fake account will ask their victim to send them multiple smaller money transfers to different bank accounts. The scammers are often difficult to locate. ​

    • Cheque washing: the "runner" opens an account and deposits a cheque that's been "washed" (altered or changed). The cheque doesn't clear for sometimes up to 60+ days, and the account has been depleted of money by the time the cheque comes back as fraudulent. Banks in this instance are the victims. 

    • Internal theft: people who are in charge of book keeping at a business or have access to accounts or credit cards at businesses will funnel money out over a period of time. These are much more straightforward, as the suspects are known in the company. All that's left to do is to investigate and charge the subject. 

  • The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre collects all the data across Canada and will use it to link things with Interpol and other countries around the world as well as in Canada.  They often have tips on their website on how to protect yourself and what the most recent scams are that are happening.

  • The Competition Bureau Canada also has a very resourceful “Little Black Book of Scams” that they have in paper copy as well as online that is full of resources and tips to prevent yourself against fraud.

  • Guelph Police often do many presentations for local groups that request us to speak and educate as well as put out media releases and alerts on tips as well. 

Writing & Final Pitch

I made sure to document our progress and our design insights using voice notes and word documents. This allowed us to keep track of where we were at with our project, and see where we were making improvements. Some instances where I made sure we were documenting our progress was during check ins with our teaching assistant, Tony, check ins with our professors as well as with someone at Scotiabank Digital Factory. 

For our final pitch to Scotiabank Digital Factory, Krisika and I designed the slide deck with OwlSense brand colours, making it simple, easy to read and aesthetically pleasing. I also handed out little business cards to each member of the panel that had our products name on it, with all of our contact information. I was chosen to do this because I worked a lot with customer service, and I know that customer experience plays a big role when it comes to meeting an executive panel. 

bottom of page