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Online Fraud On The Rise Due To COVID-19



As your financial institution, we do everything we can to protect your accounts online, but fraudsters are always coming up with new ways to gain access to your money. This doesn’t change with global crises, such as COVID-19, occur. In fact, history has proven that criminals double their efforts when people are more vulnerable. With Canadian’s self isolating and spending more and more time online, now is the time to ensure you don’t fall prey to a scam. Read on to learn how to spot the traps and avoid becoming a victim. 

Protect yourself online

Protect your email and online accounts from being compromised with these tips:

  • Be wary of links sent in an email or text message from unknown origin. Scammers often send SMS text messages and emails to people indicating there is an issue with their account which can be solved by clicking the link. Don’t fall prey to this. If you receive one delete it and call your branch.
    • If you have signed up for Mobile Alerts, you will receive notification
  • When an advisor calls you, they will never ask for your online banking password and instead will ask you some security questions to verify your identity.
  • Change your email passwords frequently; monthly is ideal. Ensure they are unique, complex and use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters.
  • Maximize the security of your email accounts with strong challenge questions and two-factor authentication (when available). If these features are not available seek out a service provider that offers them.
  • Remember to choose security questions that cannot be easily obtained from your social media profiles .
  • Bookmark and always use the bookmarked site to navigate to online banking.
  • Ensure you have the most up to date version of your antivirus software installed on your computer.


Watch out for these Red Flags: 

  • Prompts to confirm or answer more than one security question at once. You will only be asked to complete a second (or third) security question if you answer the first (or second) question incorrectly.  
  • Unexpected behaviour on the site—such as additional security questions or multiple login requests—or images on the site fail to load or browser messages stating the site is not secure.
  • Messages that contain urgency and require you to do something to unlock your account, such as clicking on a link.
  • Links to URLs that do not come from our branded website or domains or addresses that are misspelled.


What is an intercepted Interac e-Transfer®?

Interac e-Transfer is a popular method for sending money given its convenience and efficiency. All you need is access to online or mobile banking and the email address or mobile phone number of the recipient, and you can send money instantly to anyone in Canada.

While Interac e-Transfer uses a number of security measures, including encryption technology and secure login processes, money can still fall into the wrong hands in one of two ways:

  1. If the recipient’s contact details are incorrect, the Interac e-Transfer can be mistakenly directed towards another person.
  2. If the recipient’s email has been compromised, criminals can monitor the account for notifications from Interac. When they see one come through, they can use the deposit link to redirect the funds into a different account, if they can correctly answer the security question.

When sending an Interac e-Transfer, you have a role in protecting yourself against fraud by ensuring the recipient’s contact details are correct and up-to-date, and that you’ve chosen a security question that’s hard to guess.

How to protect yourself from Interac e-Transfer® interception

Protect yourself when sending an Interac e-Transfer by following these best practices:

  • Ensure the recipient’s contact details are correct and up-to-date.
  • Use a security question with a hard-to-guess answer. Don’t overestimate the security of the internet and email. The security question is there as a safeguard against the wrong person getting their hands on the Interac e-Transfer®.
  • Never send the answer to the security question via the same means as the Interac e-Transfer® itself. For example, if the transfer is sent via email, do not email the answer. Instead, provide it to the recipient via a telephone call or text message.
  • Consider setting up Autodeposit, which eliminates the need to manually deposit the funds and eliminates the opportunity for fraudsters to scoop the Interac e-Transfer®. Encourage your frequent Interac e-Transfer recipients to also set up the service.


Be Fraud Aware

As your financial institution, we are dedicated to helping you understand how you can protect yourself from fraud. If you suspect you've been a victim of fraud, please contact us right away.