How to spot a scam: Tips on preventing e-transfer fraud

Fraudsters continue to target Canadians over the phone, via text messages, emails, and in person, and yet incidents of e-transfer fraud in particular haven't been widely covered by news sources.

How e-transfer fraud works

E-transfer fraud occurs when a third party is able to intercept an email money transfer and correctly guess or obtain the password.

Banks use a variety of tools and technologies to verify that customers are who they say they are (called authentication) to protect their banking transactions. To help Canadians understand the role they can play in helping prevent fraud, banks and other organizations (like the Government of Canada's Get Cyber Safe campaign) offer tips on how to protect your money online.

According to electronic access agreements, customers have responsibilities in protecting themselves during online banking activities. Here are some examples of these responsibilities as set out in these agreements, and advice on avoiding this type of fraud:

  • When sending an e-transfer the sender has some key responsibilities, like providing an accurate email address for the recipient, and including an effective security question and answer that isn't easily guessable, and is known only to the sender and the recipient. Senders should not include the password in the message that accompanies the transfer, or send it by email to the recipient.
  • Passwords should be something that only the recipient knows. This means avoiding easily obtained or guessable information like names, birth dates, places of employment, etc.
  • TD customers can choose to set up Interac e-Transfer Autodeposit, which allows an e-transfer to be immediately deposited without the recipient having to enter a password. Since these funds are deposited automatically, they cannot be intercepted by a third party.

More ways to protect yourself

  • Understand your responsibilities as an account or card holder. This information is provided by your bank and outlines your commitments.
  • Get educated: the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre is a great resource to help you get educated about common fraud scams so you can avoid them.
  • Always be wary of any caller or message asking for your personal information over the phone, or if action is demanded on your part in a very short timeframe.
  • If you are a TD customer, signing up for services like TD Fraud Alerts, will mean getting texts that notify you if TD detects suspicious activity made on accounts that are linked to the service.

If you've been the victim of a scam

Report it: If you or a family member has fallen victim to a scam, report it to your local police, as well as the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

READ: How you can help seniors avoid becoming victims of fraud

Talk about it: If you've fallen victim to a scam, share your story. The more people who know about these scams, the harder it may be for fraudsters to take advantage.